How to Prepare your Flock for Disaster

How to Prepare your Flock for Disaster

Feb 9, 2015

Disasters can occur at any time. It is essential that for anyone that keeps pets, but more specifically parrots and birds needs to be prepared. This article is written from first-hand experience by the author who lives in Northern California. In 2014 we started the year with a severe drought, had to evacuate from a raging wildfire in July, experienced a large earthquake in August and finished off the year with significant power outages and flash flooding.

If a police car pulled up in front of your home and over the loudspeaker you heard…”You have 90 minutes to evacuate.” What would you do?

Whether it is an electrical fire in your home, hurricane, blizzard or even a simple power outage, frequently pet owners need to make quick decisions pertaining to the care of your birds. After this past year of disasters and emergencies we have a good plan in place and everything we need to evacuate a flock of twelve parrots quickly and safely.

Get a Rescue Alert Sticker

This sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes 1) the types and number of pets in your household; 2) the name of your veterinarian; and 3) your veterinarian’s phone number. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers. You can obtain these stickers free from the ASPCA or can find them at your local pet supply store. We have placed them on all entry ways and several windows to ensure good coverage for rescue workers.

Arrange for a Safe Haven

Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all Red Cross disaster shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:

  • 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

Emergency Kit

It is best to plan ahead and have on hand an emergency kit for your pets, and to practice to achieve a fast, safe and efficient evacuation during any emergency. Be sure that everyone in the family knows where this kit is located. It should be clearly labeled and easy to carry.

What to include:

  • Travel cage or carrier for each bird assembled and labeled in permanent ink with: Parrot’s name; Owner’s name, address and telephone number; Emergency contact name and telephone number; Veterinarian’s name, address and telephone number ;
  • “Reward When Returned to Owner” to increase your chance of having the bird returned should the carrier get lost in the commotion.
  • Disinfectant (e.g., Nolvasan) and spray bottle for holding disinfectant solution
  • Bottled Water (3 days minimum – up to 2 week’s worth – rotate every 3 months)
  • Emergency Food – Dry Food (3 days minimum – up to 2 week’s worth – rotate every 3 month) Paper Towels and Regular Towels
  • Any medications your pet may need – about two weeks’ worth kept in waterproof container (rotate every two months). Have
  • chemical ice packs and a small, insulated cooler, if medication needs refrigeration
  • Emergency contact information
  • Recent photograph and leg band or microchip information
  • Toys
  • Carry a spray bottle to moisten birds feathers in severe heat especially when near fire areas
  • Paper to line the cage
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Blanket to cover cage
  • Catch Net
  • Make sure that you have enough cash on hand. Credit cards cannot be processed when the electricity is out and checks may not be accepted

Geographic and Climatic Considerations

Do you live in an area that is prone to certain natural catastrophes, such as tornadoes, earthquakes or floods? If so, you should plan accordingly.

  • Determine well in advance which rooms are safe havens. These rooms should be clear of hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.
  • Choose easy-to-clean areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms and basements as safe zones
  • Access to a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure you have access to water during a power outage or other crisis.
  • In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves were your animals can take shelter.
  • If emergency officials recommend that you stay in your home your birds may become stressed due to smoke or weather so you might consider crating them for safety, comfort and if necessary evacuation

Read the full Newsletter here, including the article “Working to Conserve Cockatoos: The Good, Bad and Ugly”.

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