To prepare for any sort of severe weather or natural disaster, you should put together an emergency supply kit for each person and pet in your household and for your livestock herd – also think about anyone else you might be responsible for who doesn’t live with you, such as elderly parents, or making an extra for each car in case you are unable to go home before an evacuation or a disaster hits.
The American Red Cross provides an excellent checklist for putting together a kit. A simple backpack works really well to gather all the necessary supplies in. Food and water in a chest on wheels, rolling backpack or luggage, etc. works well also so long as you remember to keep it light enough for your to lift into your car for those events when you must evacuate rather than shelter in place! And how about making that blanket they recommend a fire blanket that can be used during wildfires? Additionally, add a list of emergency contact numbers in each kit, including your single point of contact, and the escape routes and meeting location you decided on for evacuations. Make sure everyone in the family knows where these kits are and what they are for. If kids are home alone and have to be evacuated by law enforcement, a neighbor, etc., they will be able to grab these bags and have what they need to contact you.
When preparing for a disaster or severe weather event without an emergency supply kit already prepared, remember the 6 P’s! 1. People and Pets; 2. Prescriptions and eyeglasses; 3. Papers, phone numbers, and important documents; 4. “Plastic” (credit cards, ATM cards) and cash; 5. Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia (only if there is time); and 6. Personal computer hard drive and disks (only if there is time). Keep children and pets inside so they don’t wander your property – you want to be able to find them in a moment’s notice. Take pets out on a leash to do their business. Place papers, phone numbers, and important documents, like insurance paperwork and birth certificates in a single box or bag along with pictures, flash drives, etc. If you receive a grab and go evacuation order, you do not have time to do anything other than grab your family, including pets, and go. If you have these in a bag sitting next to the door, you can literally grab it on the way out as you grab your keys. No extra time needed.
For a pets’ emergency supply kits, each pet should have a two week supply of both food and water as well as dishes to eat and drink out of, preferably non-slip. Make sure you have at least a one week supply of any medications they require as well as the dosing instructions. Put together a pet first aid kit. Make sure you have a properly fitting collar, leash, and harness (if you use a harness) for each pet. They should each have all of their required tags up to date and an ID tag that includes their name and your contact information can be also incredibly helpful and is essential if your pet does not have another way to ID them, such as a chip. Have a good supply of plastic bags to pick up waste as well as paper towels and some sort of disinfectant to clean up after accidents. Make sure puppies have a good supply of newspapers. For cats, have a litter box and plenty of litter. There are portable litter boxes available that would be good for use during an emergency. Each animal will need their own carrier or cage. Animals such as rodents, reptiles, and birds should be in cages. Having a carrier or cage can sometimes mean the difference between being allowed in an emergency shelter with your pet and being turned away. Bring comfort items for your pets – a favorite pillow or blanket, some toys, and some favorite treats. Such items can help calm them during an evacuation and while in new places with new people. Just like with the emergency supply kits for your non-furry family members, keep all the items together in a bag that is easily accessible. Also place your pets’ veterinarian contact information, medical records, vaccination records, proof of ownership, and a current picture in the bag.
To put together an emergency supply kit for your livestock, make sure you have enough feed and water for your herd for 72 hours. Keep water buckets on hand so you do not have to rely on an automatic watering system. Keep first aid items all together in a bag, box, or case. You’ll also want non-nylon halters and leads, a shovel, leg wraps, hoof pick, a sharp knife, wire cutters, a portable radio that can stay out in the barn or pasture with you (so any family in the house can listen to their own), flashlights, extra batteries, and a plastic trash can with a lid. While your livestock emergency supply kit might not fit in a backpack like those for your family and pets, you can still keep everything together in one part of your barn or another easy to access outbuilding. Place all of the small items in a bag or use the water buckets to store the small items. Just keep them all together, easy to transport, and easily accessible. Also keep medical records, vaccination records, registration papers, proof of ownership, and current pictures of each of your animals with your kit.