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Disaster Preparedness

Additional Internet Resources

Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies

Colorado State Animal Response Team (SART)

Humane Society of the United States
(972) 488-2964.

HSUS can provide a notebook on disaster planning for communities.

American Humane Association
located in Englewood, CO
(303) 885-2179

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Has materials on animal related subjects at www.fema.gov/fema/anemer.htm

Red Cross
animal related information

Intermountain Humane Society
Conifer, CO
Additional information on disaster preparedness
(303) 838-2668

A site dedicated to issues concerning animals in emergency situations:

Hotels, motels and campgrounds that allow animals can be found at:

Links to equine emergency preparedness information can be found at the Horse Review:

United Animal Nations, Emergency Animal Rescue Service:

Information on training horses to load into trailers can be accessed at: www.kbrhorse.net/tra/trailer1.html

Tips Concerning Horses and Livestock

  • Store photographs and copies of registration and brand papers for horses and livestock at a location away from your home. Evacuated horses cannot legally be returned without proof of ownership.
  • Provide identification for horses and individual livestock. Keep halters available with nametags or telephone number marked on them. In emergency evacuation situations you can also use marked duct-tape collars or spray paint phone numbers on the sides of horses to provide identification.
  • Maintain an emergency evacuation packet in your livestock area where emergency crews will clearly see it. Heavy sheet protectors or various brochure boxes are valuable in protecting and displaying this information. Provide the number of animals and description of each horse as well as any pertinent information regarding transportation, care, medications and special housing needs.
  • If at all possible, have adequate trailer space for transporting all of your livestock. Make sure that all of your horses will easily load into trailers. If necessary, seek professional help in teaching horses to load quickly and safely. Failure to train horses to load easily risks the lives of horses, owners and emergency crews. Should emergency crews need to use your trailer to move your animals, it is essential that a hitch be readily available that fits that individual trailer.
  • Avoid unnecessary lightning risk in pastures. Provide shelter for horses and fence off isolated trees where horses may congregate in storms.
  • Prepare for severe blizzards. Colorado can experience blizzards that exceed 3 feet with blowing and drifting snow. You may be without power and water for several days. You should keep at least 10-14 days of feed on hand in the winter. A woodstove or camp stove can be used to melt ice and snow for water. Keep horse blankets and a first aid kit available. Make certain your personal winter gear is adequate for your family.

Tips for Pet Owners

  • Post evacuation information near your door, including the numbers of pets in the household, the location of evacuation supplies, local contact numbers and a contact that lives out of the area. Use durable sheet protectors or a brochure display box to display and protect this information.
  • Have portable carriers available for cats, small dogs and other small pets. Place luggage tags on carriers or mark them with your name and phone number. Birds and exotic pets may need to have special cages for transportation.
  • Compile a list of animal shelters and boarding kennels in your area where you might be able to seek emergency housing for your pets.
  • Identify your pets! Have ID tags made for all pets to wear on their collars. Consider having your veterinarian place a microchip in pets to help ensure their identification. Have pictures of you with your pets stored away from your home to aid in their identification and serve as proof of ownership.
  • Keep your pets current on vaccinations and keep copies of vaccination records available.
  • If you evacuate your own animals, be sure to bring a pet first-aid kit, including any prescription medications. When time permits, bring food, water, veterinary records, dishes, a can opener, blankets, leashes, paper towels, toys and grooming tools. Place emergency equipment in a convenient location and/or make a list of needed items. Keep important personal and financial material together for quick removal as well. You may have only minutes to leave in an actual emergency, so be prepared!

More detailed information and sample forms are available on the Intermountain Humane Society website at www.imhs.org

General Preparation Guidelines

  • Once evacuation begins, you will not be allowed back into an evacuated area. If you are not at home when the evacuation begins, neighbors and emergency crews may be the only ones who can evacuate your pets or livestock.
  • If you are at home when a disaster strikes, you should be prepared to take all your animals with you when you leave. Leaving animals not only endangers the animals, but it also endangers people who try to return to their homes and the lives of emergency personnel trying to help animals.
  • Make prior arrangements with family or friends who live outside of your area to house your pets and livestock in the event of an emergency.
  • Participate in neighborhood and local disaster planning programs. Help draft neighborhood plans to help ensure the safe evacuation of each other’s pets and livestock during a crisis.
  • During an evacuation, families may become separated. Every family should designate specific friends or relatives who live outside your area to serve as telephone contacts for family members.
  • In forested areas, prepare your own property to withstand wildfires by cleaning out flammable slash and debris from your property, thinning trees where appropriate and removing trees and flammable items adjacent to your home and outbuildings. Contact your local fire department or the U.S. Forest Service concerning their specific recommendations on wildfire prevention measure.

Why You Need to Plan Today!

Many Colorado families with pets and livestock must learn to live with the risk of natural and man-made disasters, including wildfires, floods, tornadoes, blizzards, severe thunderstorms, earthquakes, incidents involving toxic chemicals, radiation and infectious diseases.

We know that there will eventually be disasters in our state. Will the next disaster threaten your household? Would you be prepared if it happened tomorrow?

The information on these pages provides information on how to prepare your family, home, livestock and pets for emergency evacuation in the event of a disaster. Only through planning will you maximize all likelihood that your family and animals can evacuate to a safe location.

Animal lives are necessarily going to take second priority to human lives in an emergency situation, so the better prepared we are for all aspects of disaster management, both as individuals and as a community, the more likely we are to enable local emergency personnel to commit resources to saving animals.

Individual planning, neighborhood planning and community planning are the best methods by which we can seek to protect human lives, animals, homes and businesses. State and Federal resources take time to mobilize and will not aid in the initial stages of evacuation and response to a crises.

The Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies has the responsibility of planning statewide emergency programs for pets. CFAWA can help local agencies through planning assistance, speaking programs, and training and can provide direct assistance during disasters. Current CFAWA emergency contact numbers are available on our website at www.cfawa.org

Keeping Animals in Disaster Situations

This information is provided as a public service to our community by cooperative funding and effort from the Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies, the Intermountain Humane Society and the Humane Society of the United States.

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3501 E 71st Street
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