You and your pet: when disaster strikes

Every area of the United States is prone to natural disasters. The gulf coast and eastern seaboard have hurricanes, California and points north have earthquake issues and the Midwest has tornados. In other parts of the country there are continual treats of forest fires, blizzards and floods. No place on earth is totally safe from a natural disaster so being prepared for one is only logical.
When you have children you prepare for any situation and owning a dog should be no different. Those who live in hurricane and flood prone areas have the slight advantage of advanced warning. Unfortunately, for most of us in the case of earthquakes and tornados, there is little or no warning of an impending disaster. Being ready is the best defense.
Start with your own home. Ask you local police/fire department for a sticker indicating there is a pet inside. If your local departments don’t have these, they can be ordered over the internet. Is your dog on medication? Keep at least a two weeks supply of unexpired medicine on hand. Have an up to date copy of shots and all medical records in case the dog has to go to a kennel. Close to the door have extra leashes, food, paper towels, hand sanitizer and water so a member of the family can grab them as you go out the door.
Always keep some kind of identifying collar on your dog. Name; phone number and medication needs should be prominently displayed. When the weather becomes inclement bring your pet indoors. Many times dogs become disoriented and get lost just before bad weather strikes.
If there is a chance that you and your family may have to spend time in a shelter, make arrangements for someone to take care of your pet. Unfortunately, most emergency shelters will not take pets in times of disasters. Check to see which local hotels are pet friendly.
After hurricane Katrina hundreds of pets had to be rescued because their owners left them behind. If the circumstances are not safe for you they are not safe for your dog. Be prepared and plan ahead so both you and your beloved animal survive.