“Did You Know?” (Interesting Facts That May Save a Life during Disaster)

  • The three favorite hiding places in a house for cats to hide after an earthquake are behind the refrigerator, in the box-springs of a bed and either under or behind a couch.
  • When a horse is frightened they will seek out the place where they normally feel safe even if the barn they live in is on fire or filling with flood water.
  • In each disaster there are accurate totals kept of the number of people that are injured and killed, but there is not a system for keeping track of the number of animals even though there can be hundreds of thousands of animals injured or killed in a single disaster.
  • As recently as 30 years ago, many people were under the assumption that animals knew how to take care of themselves in a disaster so little to no effort was made to evacuate them.
  • In a disaster, if you try to get to your home after road blocks are put up to retrieve your animals, you still will not be allowed into the evacuated area.
  • To be safe, during a disaster you can write your name and phone number on a wide, white zip tie and secure it in the mane of a horse, in case you get separated from them.
  • During wildfires a mother bear will lay on top of her cubs to protect them, often times dying herself from the smoke to save her cub.
  • More homes and business in Florida have aquariums than anywhere else in the U.S. and even though they are one of the states to get hit by major hurricanes, the majority of the people who own fish do not have a back-up plan to keep filters running when there is no electricity.
  • If you do not have a crate to put your cat in when it is time to evacuate, two identical plastic milk crates or laundry basket can be zipped tied together to serve as a temporary crate until you get your cat to a safe location.
  • If you have no choice but to let horses go during a fire, be sure to close all the barn gates and doors, otherwise, the horse may return to the barn and get trapped.
  • Pet snakes will act like they are dead when they get really cold, so do not leave what you think is a dead snake behind in a disaster, instead take them with you and see if safely warming them up will revive them.
  • Red Cross will not allow pets in evacuation shelters but pet owners are welcome to stay in their car in the parking lot with their pets.
  • After fences are blown down, horses and other farm animals will instinctively seek out low lying land during a hurricane or tornado to protect themselves from the wind, often times ending up in ditches alongside the road in rural communities where utility poles are also located and can fall and kill the animals.
  • If a dog is not evacuated during a disaster and they are not confined, they will usually start wandering and they can end up miles from home, whereas, outdoor cats will usually remain somewhere within the territory where they usually roam.
  • Prior to the devastating 2004 tsunami, wild animals that a safari guide could easily locate along the countries eastern coast, had moved in-land.
  • When having to choose between the fear of humans and a forest fire, wild animals will risk coming in close contact with people to avoid being burned.
  • Cats are not normally very fond of going swimming, but in a flood they will swim a good distance to get to a safe location.
  • As the water rises, dogs that are left behind in a flood will often seek refuge on a roof, only to have their paws severely burned if the roof is metal and the weather is hot.
  • Turning a domesticated bird lose thinking it will survive, instead of taking them with you when you evacuate, will more than likely result in the bird surviving for only a short time because they are not accustomed to looking for food for themselves, the weather is probably drastically different than where the species is found in the wild and they are easily caught by cats.
  • During a flood, some people will strip their house of everything down to the carpeting if they have time, but they will leave the dog behind, chained up.
  • Using a pillow case instead of a secure crate, to transport a cat when evacuating during a disaster, is risky because they can easily escape and a pillow case does not provide good ventilation in warm weather.
  • If you try to pull a stubborn donkey they will back up, so if trying to get one into a horse trailer when evacuating, have the donkey’s hind quarters facing the door of the trailer and they will more than likely back in.
  • To be safe, during a disaster take a permanent marker and write your name and phone number on the hooves or inside the ear of pet goats, sheep or pigs, in case you get separated from them.
  • When evacuating a horse during a fire, it is better to put a leather halter on the horse then a nylon one, because if they get too close to flames the nylon halter can melt.
  • If you absolutely cannot evacuate an animal during a disaster, it is better if you set them free so they have a fighting chance of surviving.
  • Vicious dogs can alter their personality during a disaster, behaving themselves just long enough for someone to rescue them and get them to safety, then they return to being mean.
  • Large beaked birds should not be put into a makeshift plastic enclosure for evacuation because they can easily chew their way out of anything plastic.
  • It is important to evacuate animals even though flames may not be threatening them in a fire, because smoke can cause health problems if breathed in for extended periods of time, just like it does for people, especially if they are elderly.
  • In a flood, you can find on the surface of the water what looks like a mound of coffee grounds, but it’s a cluster of live fire ants looking for a place to get out of the water and if that place is an animal swimming in the water, the ants will start stinging and the animal will be in great pain or they can have an allergic reaction to the bites and drown.
  • Even though a fence may appear to still be intact after a flood, double check that it is secure before putting animals back in the enclosure.

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