Week 19.5 – Pets – After the disaster – Where did they go?


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By Jackie Kloosterboer – Speaker, Trainer, 
Author – My Earthquake Preparedness Guide 

QUESTION:   Pet Preparedness – Is it necessary?

Be ready to make a poster of your lost pet

Each year I present hundreds of Earthquake Preparedness Workshops explaining to people that if they are prepared for an Earthquake they will be ready for any disaster that comes their way. Once again this important point has been proved:

Through Emergency Social Services (ESS) I respond to hundreds of house and apartment fires helping people and their pets who have been displaced by disaster. In British Columbia – ESS can often provide basic assistance for 72 hours helping those who have been impacted.

Arriving on scene at house and apartment fires we far too often see people who are NOT prepared for any sort of a disaster. They don’t have supplies, they don’t have insurance and often this is a choice they have made.  If only they knew what a difference it would make if they had insurance, if they had a family emergency plan, if they had packed a Grab & Go Kit with basic supplies for each family member and for their pets.  A Grab & Go Kit is a necessity after any disaster when you have to flee from your home. 
Recently I arrived on scene at an apartment fire and after providing a briefing to the residents on what assistance could be provided. a lady came up to me.  You could see the despair on her face. I knew something was troubling her.  

We stepped away from the group and she told me how her cat was missing. When she had opened her apartment door to evacuate, her cat had bolted out the door and was nowhere to be found. Understandably she was worried sick her cat had been hit by a car or had not survived the fire – her cat was nowhere to be found.
Fortunately, her apartment was not one of the fire-damaged units.  I explained to her that her cat was probably hiding and like her, he had gone through a terrifying experience – evacuating the apartment, the fire, the flashing lights and sirens, the noise and the commotion as the fire department did an amazing job of fighting the firre.  

Over the years, I have been to many fires and have heard and seen this story time and time again.  From my experience usually the cats that have run away will come back when things settle down. 

Teaching people to prepare for Earthquakes I always encourage them to take photos of their pets, one of their pet alone and one of their pet with them in case they need to prove this is their pet. 
I asked her if she had a photo of her cat and fortunately she did.  Susan – if you email me the picture I will make a “Lost Cat” poster for you and you can post it around the n’hood. She was thrilled. I quickly put together a lost cat poster and Susan posted it in her n’hood. 

Susan had also received some advice from a friend who told her to shake a bag of treats and maybe the cat would come back. He suggested she do this when all was quiet.  Susan followed the suggestion and to her surprise a big raccoon poked his head around the corner. He wanted the treat that was being offered.

Never know who will show up when you shake the treat bag

It was a long night for Susan waiting for her cat to come back.

At 6:18 the next morning I opened my email and noticed an email from Susan had just been delivered. I quickly opened it up. “My cat has come back” was written in bold. I could imagine how thrilled she was to have her cat back home.  It’s always scary when a pet goes missing.

This is truly a happy ending story – we all wanted the cat to come back – but even more importantly this story shows the importance of being prepared. Having a photo of her pet she was able to get a poster up quickly – she did not have access to her apartment for several hours so there was no going in to get a photo. 

………..and the cat came back!

She was prepared. No – the lost cat poster in this case did not bring her cat back – but it could have helped, had the cat not come back. In a disaster of any kind we never know what we will be faced with. We all need to be prepared!

You’re Task for Week #19.5
Take a photo of your pet alone and a photo with you and your family. 
Print a copy for your Grab & Go Kit and keep a photo of your pet on your phone or tablet.  
Prepare a Grab & Go Kit for you pet with all the items he/she will need if evacuated.  
In your Home Earthquake Kit include supplies that your pet will need. 
Week 20 we will look at what to do in certain situations facing an earthquake.
Have questions – don’t hesitate to ask. Until next week – Stay safe and make sure you, your family and pets are prepared for earthquakes or any disaster that may come your way.
Jackie Kloosterboer – BIO

Jackie Kloosterboer has been leading the way in earthquake preparedness for 2 decades presenting more than 100 Earthquake Preparedness sessions each year to a variety of groups and businesses. She is often interviewed by a variety of media outlets across Canada as she promotes the importance of earthquake and disaster preparedness.
As an Emergency Preparedness Specialist and an Instructor with the Justice Institute of BC Jackie travels across Canada teaching people how to respond to disasters to help those who have been displaced. Throughout British Columbia Jackie has taken on leadership roles assisting those who have been impacted by disaster.

Contact Jackie to speak at your next group or business event to help you, your family, your staff and pets get prepared for earthquakes or whatever disaster comes your way. Jackie will lead you through the necessary steps helping you identify what is important to you and your family or business.  

Contact Jackie with any questions or to book her for your next event at jackie@survive-it.ca or call (604) 355-2414

Jackie is available for:

Earthquake Preparedness Presentations
Preparedness Plans
In-Home Walk-Throughs
Preparedness Kits
Media Interviews

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