Letting what has been happening with Hurricane Sandy and some of the difficulties that people have found, can be a borometer of how to help Ohio shelters be better prepared; along with knowing what past winters are like, and problems like perpetual flooding in Findlay.
For shelters, preparation is key. Creating a list of “critical response team members” and their contact information. It should be a list of facility supervisors, support staff, a veterinarian, shelter managers, animal husbandry (taking care of livestock) staff, along with volunteer and public safety contact information. Suggestions also include finding alternate sites like colleges, racetracks, show grounds, fairgrounds, stables, or pastures and smaller animals can also be held at veterinary hospitals or boarding kennels.
Emergency supply kits are also a must have: flashlights, transistor radio, extra batteries, ropes, tape, fire extinguishers and the ASPCA also recommends blankets, collapsible cages, heavy duty work gloves & the copies of the shelter’s emergency plan.
Another must is securing the shelter grounds. Moving critical equipment indoors, shuttering or boarding windows if needed, and gassing up facility vehicles. Diconnecting all electrical equipment (shutting down all electricity at the breaker box is suggested). All hazardous materials need labeled and seperated too so they don’t get mixed and cause a whole new problem to deal with.
The most difficult problem to be dealt with would be evacuation if it is needed. Again, the ASPCA has great guidelines and links for shelters to use in making their own, with samples provided. They also advise inspecting other communities who have launched their own. Issues to beware of are too many people involved (send home whoever is not a critical response team member) and making sure animals won’t face greater danger in leaving the shelter. Surveying what the other shelter’s safety would be like, is needed before evacuation.
The bond between humans and animals is such an incredible bond that has exhisted for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and being responsible successfully for an area’s shelter in an emergency; helps continue that gift to be had well into the future.
Sources: ehow.com/list_6761587_emergency-procedures-animal-facilities, Elle Stober; examiner.com/article/some-baltimore-animal-shelters-without-power-preparing-for-cleanup; aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness/