Be prepared and know who to contact in the event of a disaster

Published on Monday, 28 August 2017 11:05 - Written by CHAD GULLEY, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

September is National Preparedness Month. Disasters can be caused from hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, accidents, terrorism, ice storms and wildfires, to name a few. Do you have a family emergency plan in the event of a disaster? What plans do you have for your pets and livestock during a disaster?

Water is vital to survival especially after a disaster. Dehydration occurs when the body loses too much water. When dehydrated, your body’s cells and tissues lose essential fluids, muscles begin to get tired, you may have leg cramps and you may begin to feel tired. A normal active person needs to drink at least 2 quarts of water each day, more in most cases. Have a good supply of clean water during and after a disaster. Disaster supply kits should have enough water and supplies for you and your family to sustain yourselves for at least three days. Each person requires one gallon of water each day.

If you must evacuate your home, what will you do with your pets or livestock during a disaster? Be sure to check with emergency shelters whether they accept pets. Call ahead and check with evacuation centers to see where animals can be housed during the disaster. Prepare a disaster kit for your pets as well. Again, prepare for at least three days for pets and livestock to be sheltered just as we prepare for ourselves. Horses and other large animal shelter locations may be available during a disaster. Call around and make a list of these locations if you need to evacuate.

Do you know what resources are out there for animals when it comes to disasters? There are a number of resources that can be helpful before and during a disaster when it comes to wildlife, pets, and livestock.

The Texas Animal Health Commission can be a resource for shelters for horses, pets, and livestock. It can be reached at 800-550-8242 or www.tahc.state.tx.us .

For wildlife issues during a disaster, including wildlife rehabilitation, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department can be reached at 800-792-1112 or www.tpwd.state.tx.us . Wildlife may be stressed after a disaster, so call authorities if you have wildlife in or around your property that need assistance.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is another resource for livestock and horses. It can be reached at 817-332-7064 or www.texascattleraisers.org . It is important to have livestock permanently identified so ownership can be determined in the event of a disaster or other related issues.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality can be of assistance when dealing with animal carcasses as well as water quality issues during or after a disaster. It can be reached at 512-239-1000 or www.tceq.state.tx.us .

The United State Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency can be a resource for losses to livestock and poultry when disasters strike. It can be reached at 979-680-5151 or www.fsa.usda.gov/tx .     

These are just a few resources families can access during an emergency. Go to http://texashelp.tamu.edu for more information on this and other emergency preparedness topics.