Tips for national disaster preparedness

Published on Saturday, 7 September 2013 22:42 - Written by By Chad Gulley Extension Agent

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 resources that can be helpful before and during a disaster when it comes to wildlife, pets and livestock.

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) can be a resource for shelters for horses, pets and livestock. The Texas Animal Health Commission can be reached at 800-550-8242 orwww.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 orwww.tpwd.state.tx.us . Wildlife may be stressed after a disaster so call authorities if you have wildlife in or around your property that needs assistance.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) is another resource for livestock and horses. The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association can be reached at 817-332-7064 orwww.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 (TCEQ) can be of assistance when dealing with animal carcasses as well as water quality issues during or after a disaster. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality can be at 512-239-1000 orwww.tceq.state . tx.us.

The United State Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) can be a resource for losses to livestock and poultry when disasters strike. The Farm Service Agency can be contacted at 979-680-5151 orwww.fsa.usda.gov/tx .

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

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