Remember your pets when making emergency preparations.
State and federal officials say pets must be taken into consideration, because situations can become more dangerous if they are not.
Preparedness Coordinator Phil Kirk with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Kansas City says FEMA has learned through painful experience the importance of including pets in any preparations a family makes.
“There have been countless examples through the years where citizens refused to evacuate their homes in the face of danger, because they didn’t have a way to take their pets along or a place to bring them to safety,” Kirk tells reporters during a news conference in the governor’s Capitol office. “Sadly, those decisions cost some people their own lives as well as the lives of their pets.”
Gov. Dave Heineman and First Lady Sally Ganem, along with First Puppy Snickers, hosted the news conference.
Snickers, in fact, has posted pet preparedness information on his portion of the governor’s web page, a web page especially attractive to children.
September is Emergency Preparedness Month and the event with Snickers is just another way to get out the message and prompt Nebraskans to be prepared in case of a weather or any other emergency.
Special trading cards have been produced, called Snickers Pre-PAW-edness trading cards with a message for each day in September. They can be downloaded from the web site.
Kirk says families need to make provision for each member as well as for each pet.
“They go hand-in-hand,” Kirk says. “Because there are people who will not leave without their pets and I understand that. So, we need to try to do what we can to make sure that everybody can leave and be safe.”
Kirk says a family needs to have non-perishable food, bottled water, medications, and other material together to last for the first 72 hours of an emergency. They also should include a kit to help their pets survive the first few days of an emergency as well.
AUDIO: Capitol news conference on including pets in emergency preparations. [5:20]