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KUSA - After all the fires and floods in Colorado so far, residents should know how important it is to be prepared for a natural disaster.

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. From June to August, PetAid Disaster Services assisted counties and the County/Community Animal Response Teams in the evacuation and emergency sheltering of more than 2,000 pets and small livestock in Colorado during times of disaster.

Emergencies may require that you leave your home. Do not leave your pets behind. Remember, if it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that disaster shelters do not accept pets, so it is critical that you determine where you will take your pets ahead of time. Here is a list of things to do as part of your pet preparedness plan:

  • Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.
  • Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
  • Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
  • Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.

Here are some emergency supplies your pet may need during an emergency:

  • Pet food and water for at least three days
  • Can opener, spoons
  • Treats
  • Bowls
  • Cat litter and litter pan
  • Poop scooper
  • Medications
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Bedding
  • Toys
  • Grooming supplies
  • Leashes or harnesses
  • Muzzle (if needed)
  • Leather gloves and towels (for handling upset pets)
  • Copies of up-to-date vaccination records
  • Collars with tags and/or microchip information
  • Photos of you with your pet (both digital and paper)
  • Current sticker on house window with pet list for fire/emergency personnel
  • Paper towels, plastic trash bags, and a bottle of spray cleaner/disinfectant
  • Alcohol based hand sanitizer
  • List of important animal emergency contacts (animal control, animal shelter, veterinarians, etc.)
  • Other (add your unique items to the list)

Emergencies can happen while you are not at home. To ensure that your pets will be cared for during an emergency, make sure to choose "designated caregivers." Selection of a designated caregiver typically takes considerable time and thought. When you choose a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your home. This person should be someone who is generally at home during the day while you are at work, or has easy access to your home. A set of keys should be given to this trusted individual. A "pet caregiver" arrangement can work well with neighbors who have pets of their own-think about swapping responsibilities with neighboring pet owners.

For more information, visit www.petaidcolorado.org