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Emergency management is the discipline of dealing with and avoiding risks. The concept and terminology "pet emergency management" was developed by renowned pet safety expert Ines de Pablo in the spring of 2007. "Defining pet emergency management" is a registered trademark of Ms. de Pablo's company, namely Wag'N Enterprises. With her background in the field of emergency management, Ms. de Pablo determined it was time to apply her expertise to the pet world/industry. Pet emergency management is the application of emergency management practices in regards to pet safety. It involves mitigation measures (i.e. accident avoidance for pet owners, continuity of operations for pet businesses); preparedness (i.e. pet parents learning pet first aid skills, training of first responders in animal handling, pet businesses developing evacuation, emergency drills and continuity of operation plans, etc.); response (i.e. the application of pet first aid skills, use of pet first aid equipment, organized evacuation of residences and animal shelters, etc.) as well as recovery efforts.
The destructive force of Hurricane Katrina exposed many flaws in our nation’s emergency preparedness programs. One easily correctible issue that has come to light is that many of our city and state authorities’ disaster plans did not take into account how to rescue the portion of the population who are pet owners.Thousands of pets died, many as a result of poor planning, flawed local, state and federal policies. As a result, an amendment to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5196b) was issued. Section 613 of the Act was amended in October 2006. This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006’’.
Personal mitigation is mainly about knowing and avoiding unnecessary risks. This includes an assessment of possible risks to personal/family health and to personal property.
Pet mitigation efforts may include finding the proper placement for a doghouse, so that it is not inundated in the event of heavy rains. It is also helpful to learn about what might harm a pet (poisonous foods, plants and such), dangerous situations such as driving with unrestrained pets, and how to prevent aggressive behavior through training. Pet proofing a home to prevent pets from getting into sharp/breakable objects, medication cabinets, holiday hazards is recommended. Ensure that storage units and garages are locked, that antifreeze, gasoline, pesticides, pool cleaner and other dangerous chemicals are properly stored. Without a doubt, pet insurance and microchips are great mitigation tools, as they help lower ownership cost and locate lost pets. Pets should always carry proper ID and tags, and health records should be kept accessible and up-to-date. Balconies should have safe railings, doors and windows should be locked. Finally, emergency numbers to a 24-hour veterinary clinic and the National Animal Poison Control Center should be placed by all phones.
Owners need to know their pets and pet behavior in general to avoid risks. By learning the threats, it is possible to prevent accidents from taking place.
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