Pet parents need to gather their pet’s records and medications to evacuate if needed. As veterinary professionals, we need to be available to accommodate those prescription refills and vaccine history requests quickly. We can also provide recommendations for quality veterinary hospitals in the area owners may be headed. Keep in mind that internet and technology may not be available, so it’s important for pet parents to have hard copies on hand.
To ensure staff safety, keep open communications between staff members and respond quickly to alerts and weather warnings to avoid traveling in severe weather. At work, be sure to locate a safe place to retreat in case of tornado or high winds. If there are pets in the hospital, have a plan to evacuate and keep them safe in carriers. While we want to remain open for business, remember that if it is dangerous to travel, pet parents aren’t likely to be coming in for a nail trim (but there is always one!).
Pets and pet parents can be traumatized by events like hurricanes, tornadoes, fire, and other disasters. Be prepared to see injuries related to these events, even if the event occurs many miles away. We also need to be flexible and compassionate knowing that owners may not have all their records or history.
Scan for those microchips! Even if a pet looks like a stray, we need to ensure they are not displaced from their family. We want all our pets to already have permanent identification, but this is an opportunity to educate!
Weather emergencies can happen year round. It is important to discuss with pet parents regularly the importance of having these items prepared and up to date. Emergency events are stressful for all of us, but we can help alleviate concern for pet parents by being available and attentive before, during, and after. Here are more resources for you and pet parents in order to prepare.