How would you and your pets cope in a Civil Defence emergency?

Animal welfare was the focus at the civil defence regional meeting I attended last month. You’ll be pleased to know that animal welfare needs are an important part of the civil defence planning process.

There are significant challenges in looking after livestock in flooding situations (Edgecumbe 2017), supplying them with water when earthquakes disrupt all pipelines (Kaikoura), or slips cut road access to a large area so that milk can’t be trucked to the dairy factory (Golden Bay 2018).

Cows and calf stranded by Kaikoura earthquake

Pets left behind in an evacuation situation cause extreme distress for their owners and major problems for civil defence staff trying to keep hazardous zones free of pet owners breaking cordons to go back for their loved pets.

Where should evacuees with pets go? Where can lost pets be housed in flood situations? In an earthquake? In a tsunami all but one of the veterinary clinics in Nelson and Motueka could be inoperable. In a severe earthquake all could be without power. There is only food in Nelson supermarkets to feed the population for two days.

Six useful tips:

  1. Keep enough food on hand to feed your pets for a week. And for you too!
  2. Keep enough water stored to supply you and your pets needs for a week. Likely at least 2 x 20L.
  3. Your dog will be microchipped. Get your cat microchipped too. That gives you the best chance of being reunited.
  4. Your pets can stay in your car parked at an evacuation centre. Keep a harness and lead for the cat in your emergency evacuation kit so you can take it out to toilet. Plastic bags too!.
  5. Keep an LED head torch by your bed. If the earthquake happens at night power may be out and there will likely be broken glass over the kitchen floor. Keep another in the emergency kit.
  6. The basic dressings and bandages in your emergency kit will cover your pets too but are harder to keep in place on the pet. A small roll of duct tape will be handy for many things. Check this brief clip on :

Being self-reliant does just help you, your family and your pets. It lightens the load for over-stretched Civil Defence services in any natural disaster.