Summer 2013 Magazine
DISASTER PLANNING FOR
New Mexico is in the midst of devastating heat and drought which give rise to extreme weather conditions and the high probability of fires. Several large fires in the state - Jaroso, Tres Lagunas, Thompson Ridge and Silver - have already caused havoc for people and animals. Smoke billowing over the mountains is always a frightening sight that makes us think of the humans and animals trapped in the fire's path. People need to watch the reports at www.nmfireinfo.org and follow the firefighter's advice. But there are also ways to help the animals- domestic and wild - by following a few tips.
Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) suggests the following commonsense tips for responsible people to help domestic animals and coexist with wildlife.
A few simple steps can ensure your animal companions stay hydrated, including continual checking of water dishes and troughs. The water can evaporate quickly in the heat. When hiking, bring extra water for both you and your dog. Keep animals inside during the day if possible. When walking dogs, avoid pavement--sensitive paws can be damaged by hot asphalt. Lastly, be attentive to watery or itching eyes, coughing, or other respiratory difficulties in animals and seek veterinary advice if they occur.
Wild animals are also negatively affected by drought. With dwindling food and water in the ecosystem, many more animals are placed at risk of traumatic removal or extermination by animal control or other agencies. While it may be tempting for landowners to provide water or even food for wildlife, understand that teaching such behavior is harmful to the creatures' long-term survival. Instead, please follow some commonsense tips for responsible coexistence with wildlife.
- Feed companion animals indoors
- Keep garbage securely stored
- Modify or remove bird feeders to hinder other animals (See www.apnm.org/publications/general_articles/How%20to%20Feed%20Birds.pdf.)
- Remove leaky faucets or other sources of standing water near your home
- Move woodpiles to prevent rodents that can attract predators
Find more tips on removing wildlife attractants at http://www.sandiamountainbearwatch.org/living_with_bears.html
If you encounter a wild animal on your property that appears to need help, visit http://apnm.org/publications/general_articles/WildlifeRehabilitation.php for resources or call 505-265-2322 x31.
Get active to help at-risk animals this summer
Preparedness is the best way to ensure you and your community's animals won't be harmed by drought and associated predicaments. APNM's new Animal Disaster Planning Guide comprehensively outlines methods and resources for anticipating emergencies. Visit the guide's website for information including updates on emergency conditions around the state, interactive maps, evacuation sites, and links for further information.
Domestic animals beyond dogs and cats are also facing down hunger and thirst this summer. Scorched pastures, hay shortages, and inclement weather are severely stressing horses and other animals. In addition to the disaster-planning steps above, please consider helping others with horses, donkeys, and mules. You can join the Equine Protection Fund's Volunteer Network by filling out the form at www.apnm.org/publications/general_articles/animal_safety_planning.php.
APNM's member-supported Fire Fund has donated thousands of dollars in past years to help with evacuations and wildlife relief efforts for domestic animals. To ensure the Fund is robust and prepared for whatever may occur this summer, consider donating at www.apnm.org/publications/general_articles/animal_safety_planning.php. Designate your contribution as "Fire Fund"
Also, consider financial or volunteer contributions to the state's wild animal rescue and rehabilitation centers. These facilities-including The Wildlife Center, Wildlife Rescue Inc., and Chihuahuan Desert Wildlife Rescue - are on the frontlines ensuring that needy, injured, and orphaned animals are given humane care. They are already reporting higher than usual rates of animals needing help this year.
In times of extremity, community involvement is more important than ever to guarantee humane treatment and compassion for the state's domestic and wild creatures.
Pet Project: Keeping Animals Safe During Wildfire Season
Ever since the devastating images of pets left behind during Hurricane Katrina, and after major evacuations of Los Alamos and Ruidoso in 2011 and 2012, more New Mexicans are thinking about how to deal with the evacuation needs of over 70 percent of New Mexican families who have companion animals. Leaving animals behind not only endangers the animals but creates potential risks and loss for people as well.
For over a year, Animal Protection of New Mexico has been working at all levels to increase awareness and encourage more conversations about this important piece of emergency management. Working with state agencies, community groups, and local emergency managers, APNM is expanding their online Disaster Preparedness information and developing a statewide Emergency Animal Resources Guide for use by emergency response officials.
Today, a number of individual citizens, local organizations, and dedicated emergency managers are taking significant steps toward making a big difference for animals in community planning and preparedness efforts around the state. Local and county agencies are rewriting emergency operations and evacuation plans, exploring options to locate emergency animal shelters at or near human shelters, coordinating with neighboring jurisdictions for animal sheltering support, expanding training opportunities for animal response teams, and including animal scenarios in emergency exercises and drills.
Individuals can do the same by creating their own plans, talking to neighbors about a buddy system if they're not home during an evacuation, and conducting family fire drills with their animals. Sharon Jonas, APNM's Disaster Preparedness Program Coordinator, recommends making a 'To Do List' today to start your own disaster planning. "Write down everything you need to do to be ready if you have to evacuate: create an evacuation plan, prepare Emergency Kits for both people and animals, deciding where you would go and where to take your animals," suggests Ms. Jonas. "Then make more detailed lists of what to put in your Emergency Kits, what supplies you need, which documents to gather,
what to research online, and who to call." Having proper identification with your animals, photos of you and your animals, and copies of vaccination records are also critical for emergency sheltering or if your animal is lost.
APNM's Disaster Preparedness webpage has a wide range of advice and resources on disaster planning, updates on what's happening around the state and contacts for volunteers.
Keeping You and Your Animals Safe When Disaster Strikes
1. Be Ready To Do List - what you need to do, what to buy, documents to gather, who to call, and what to research online, and talking to neighbors about a buddy system in case you're not home when your area is evacuated.
2. Supplies for your Animal Emergency Kit for 3-7 days away from home.
3. What you'll need to do, a detailed Evacuation Plan for both people and animals.
4. Safe Places to bring your animals. Contact information for friends, family, pet-friendly hotels, animal shelters or veterinarians in nearby communities (confirm arrangements first).
5. Grab-And-Go List of important last-minute items not in your Evacuation Kit.
6. ID Ready. Have identification and emergency contact number with your animal (always); microchip your animals; label collars, harnesses, crates and carriers; have a photo of you with your animals.
7. Become part of the solution in your community:
a. Join New Mexico Citizen Corps or offer to help create a planning committee (contact www.nmdhsem.org/Citizen_Corp.aspx, 505-476-9633 or your local emergency manager)
b. Participate in training or rescue exercises for you or your animals
c. Ask your county or municipal Emergency Management Office about what's going on in your community to address the needs of families with companion animals during a disaster and how you can help
d. Become an emergency response volunteer or join a volunteer network at:
1. APNM at 505-265-2322, ext. 23
2. Your local animal shelter (see local listings or APNM's NM Animal Resources Guide at www.apnm.org/nmarg)
3. Equine Protection Fund (www.equineprotectionfund.org or
4. NM Back Country Horsemen, seven chapters (www.bchnm.org or
5. New Mexico's seven Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT's) (www.citizencorps.gov/cc/CertIndex.do?reportsForState&cert=&state=NM)
ANIMAL DISASTER KIT
Keep your kit in a sturdy container or duffel bag that can be carried easily. Make sure your whole family knows how to find the kit. Your animal disaster kit should contain:
1) Extra collars, leashes, harnesses and secure carriers.
2) Two-week supply of medications and medical records. Store the medications and records in a waterproof container. Include your veterinarian's phone number and authorization for your pet to be treated if necessary.
3) Companion animal first aid book and kit.
4) Current photos & descriptions of your animals.
5) Extra ID tags. Temporary ID's are good if your information changes during an evacuation.
6) One week supply of your animal's regular food and water.
7) Food and water bowls, a manual can opener, and a spoon.
8) Litter and small or disposable litter box.
9) Newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and cleaning products.
10) Pet beds and toys.
11) List of safe places to go.
12) Extras of any special items your animal needs.
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