Hurricane Hugo
Hurricane Hugo
Hurricane Hugo

Hurricane Preparedness Guide

***Pet Friendly Shelter Info Update for Hurricane Irene**** Aug. 23, 2011

This Post and Courier article discusses the full rules at the pet friendly hurricane shelter in N. CHS. There's an interesting discussion of what is changing since the shelter was used during Hurricane Floyd, most importantly that only ONE person is allowed to stay per pet. All other family members will be sent to nearby evacuation shelters. Some exceptions will be decided on a case by case basis such as a single parent with children and pets. Lowcountry Dog suggests that you watch the hurricane's predicted path closely and should Charleston remain in the storm's path,  leave the Charleston area if at all possible.

As we head into Hurricane Season, it's important to have an emergency plan for your pets. Here's some handy tips and things to consider as you prepare your entire family for this dangerous season.

IN PREPARATION

Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations.

Pet friendly shelters require proof of vaccines.

Have a current photograph.

Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.

Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal. Pet friendly shelters require them. Practice putting it together quickly.

Plan your evacuation strategy and don't forget your pet!

Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size, and species. Ask if "no pet" policies would be waived in an emergency.

Make a list of animal-friendly places and keep it handy.

Call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.

Check with friends, relatives, or others outside your immediate area to see if they would shelter you and your animals or just your animals, if necessary.

Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in emergencies; include 24-hour telephone numbers.

Ask your local animal shelter if it provides foster care or shelter for pets in an emergency. This should be your last resort, as shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched to their limits during an emergency.

DURING THE DISASTER

If you are able, leave early. Don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. An unnecessary trip is far better than waiting too long to leave safely with your pets. If you wait to be evacuated by emergency officials, you may be told to leave your pets behind.

Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, a muzzle for dog aggressivee dogs, an ample supply of food, water (1 gallon for every 10lbs.) food bowls, any medications, specific care instructions and news papers or trash bags for clean-up

Bring pets indoor well in advance of a storm - reassure them and remain calm.

Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis. If phone lines are still up, call ahead and determine availability.

AFTER THE DISASTER

Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home - often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost.

Also, downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water and debris can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster.

If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered.

Bring along a picture of your pet if possible. After a disaster animals can become aggressive or defensive - monitor their behavior.

SHELTER AND HOTEL INFO:

The North Charleston Coliseum will provide shelter only for those people who can not otherwise evacuate with their pets. Entry is limited to one person per pet.

The following hotel chains are pet friendly and there are several just a few hours away from Charleston that would serve as a refuge from the storm.

Best Western: 800-528-1234

Clarion: 800-252-7466

Comfort Inn: 800-228-5150

Days Inn: 800-329-7466

Econo Lodge: 800-553-2666

Holiday Inn: 800-465-4329

Quality Inn: 800-228-5151

Ramada Inn: 800-228-2828

Residence Inn: 800-331-3131

Also check out www.vrbo.com, a search engine for vacation and short term rentals across the US. You can search specifically for pet friendly homes, townhouses and villas to rent.

And make sure to check out trainer Kristie Allen's guide to training your dog for emergencies. Here's PART ONE.

It's important to have an emergency plan for your pets.

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