AVA: Include Animals in Disaster Management Plans

AVA: Include Animals in Disaster Management Plans

“If you need to evacuate, don’t leave it till the last minute, and find a suitable place to take your animals outside the danger zone such as higher land, friends, or animal shelters,” Gardiner said.

Photo: Marvin Nauman/FEMA News

To coincide with the upcoming International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction on Oct. 9, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is encouraging animal owners to include horses, livestock, and pets in their disaster management plans.

AVA’s National President Ben Gardiner, BVSc, CMAVA, said that if disaster hits, people should be prepared not only for their own safety but for their animal’s welfare as well.

“Those of us who own animals have a legal responsibility to take care of them, and that doesn’t change in an emergency,” he said. “Being prepared is the key—make sure your household emergency plan includes all your animals. Just as natural disasters can be extremely traumatic for people, the same can be true for our livestock and pets. Preparing ahead of time and acting quickly can be the best way to keep yourself, your family and your animals out of harm’s way.”

Like other regions of the world, Australia routinely experiences a wide range of natural disasters each year including bushfires, cyclones, severe storms, heat waves, earthquakes, landslides, and floods.

“If you’re likely to be affected by a natural disaster … put together an emergency kit with lots of non-perishable food and water,” he said. “You should be prepared for possible disruption to services, including power, water, and telecommunication networks, for extended periods of time.

“If you need to evacuate, don’t leave it till the last minute, and find a suitable place to take your animals outside the danger zone such as higher land, friends, or animal shelters.”

Information and brochures about protecting pets, horses, and livestock from natural disasters is available on the AVA’s website

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