The Carroll County Emergency Management Agency will sound the outdoor emergency warning sirens all across the county at 9 a.m. today, as part of the week’s activities. The usual Wednesday noon siren test will not be conducted.
Monday was Family Preparedness Day and the emphasis was on having a family disaster plan and having a “ready kit” with survival materials needed to get through the emergency. The Carroll County Humane Society was using the day to remind people to also have “ready kits” for the family pets.
“Many people don’t plan for what they’d do in a disaster and even fewer make plans for their pets,” said Teresa Leslie, president of the Carroll County Humane Society. “Our pets count on us to take care of them and the responsibility doesn’t end when disaster strikes.”
Leslie said Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was an eye opener for many people on what can go wrong in a disaster, and for pet owners, many of them lost their animal companions and didn’t have ways to claim them if they were located.
“One thing you need is a recent photograph of yourself with your pets,” she said. “If you get separated from them, and the animals end up in a shelter, you can prove they belong to you. After Hurricane Katrina, many animals were claimed by the wrong people.”
Another important step to take is to microchip all your pets, so they can be readily identified if they become lost from their owners. In addition, the pets should have IDs, with names, addresses and phone numbers, of their owners.
Leslie said the Humane Society has brochures available, telling pet owners how to care for their animals during a disaster. In addition, the group will be handing out rescue alert stickers that pet owners can use on their front doors to alert first responders that animals are inside the house.
“We have two versions,” she said. “One is a sticker that can be put on the outside window and another is a cling that sticks to the inside. It lets the first responders know how many and what kinds of pets people have in their homes. Some pet owners also put their pets’ names on the stickers, so that responders can call their names upon entering the house.”
Leslie warns pet owners to bring their pets indoors when a severe storm is approaching and to take them to the safe area.
“Many times, animals sense danger before humans, and they may find a hiding place outdoors where humans can’t locate them,” she said. “In addition, after a disaster, keep them close to you on a leash, because they may get disoriented because the neighborhood is not the same and things are not where they remember them.”
As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, Carroll County Emergency Management Agency Director Tim Padgett reminds people to prepare their “ready kits” with such things as medications, water, cash, food staples, battery radio, flashlights and blankets.
Padgett said one great source of preparedness information is the state Homeland Security website, www.ready.ga.gov. The site also has information on what to put in your pet “ready kit,” including items such as:
• food, at least a three-day supply, in an airtight, waterproof container
• medicines the animal may be taking
• bottled water, at least a three-day supply, specifically for your pets
• important documents, such as registration information, adoption papers, vaccination documents
• collars, with ID tags, rabies tags and leash
• first aid kit, with cotton bandages, tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment and a pet first aid reference
• crate or pet carrier that is large enough for animal to stand, turn around and lie down
• for cats, pet litter, litter boxes, and if appropriate, newspapers, paper towers, trash bags, etc.
• photo of you and pets together, with notation of species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing marks
• familiar items for the pets, such as treats, toys and bedding, which can help reduce stress
The Carroll County Humane Society can be contacted at 770-830-2763, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. The group’s website is www.carrollcountyhumane.org and Facebook page is titled “The Carroll County Humane Society.”