Protect Your Pets in a Tornado Emergency

Recent deadly tornados in my area had me worrying about what would happen if a tornado hit my neighborhood.  Fortunately, I have a basement.  But unfortunately, my dogs inhabit the upper level of the house and can’t get to the basement when I am not home.

Wednesday, May 25th, there was a tornado warning in downtown Kansas City.  I work downtown in Kansas City and was at work at the time.  The company I work for has safety features in place where alarms sound and we have designated safety leaders who make sure everyone gets to a center part of the building for safety.  It is said that the center part of a house or building is safer than the edges.  The basement would have been safer but our company is too big and our building too small for everyone to get in the basement.  So we were taken to a center part of the building.

Our time spent in this area was a long one-and-a-half hours.  I couldn’t help thinking “what if” – What if a tornado hits our building?  What about my dogs at home?  I had no one to call to make sure my dogs were taken to safety.  Fortunately, I know that Sephi is sensitive to thunder and would have gone into the bathroom.  The bathroom is not in the center of the home but it has no windows.

So what can you do?  Talk to a trusted neighbor and see if they would be willing to take your dogs to a safe area until the tornado warning is passed.  This may be difficult as you would not want your neighbors to endanger themselves.  Or you may not have neighbors you know well enough to give a key to your home.

I have good neighbors but I just can’t bring myself to ask them to risk themselves.  They are not big dog lovers and it really is a hard thing to ask of someone who is not a close friend.  Instead, the dogs are now kept in the basement when I am not home during tornado season.  The basement is finished and my dogs have all the comforts they need.

Another thing you can do is make sure your dogs always wear their id tags.  If such a horrible thing happens where a tornado hits your house, hope that your dogs get to safety and are found.

If you are home, get you and your family to the basement.  If you don’t have a basement, get to the lowermost centermost part of your house.  Stay away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls.  Get under a sturdy table and protect your head and neck with your arms.  Keep everyone in your family calm, especially pets who won’t understand what is happening and may panic.

Natural disasters are hard to predict.  They can come without warning.  Unfortunately, you don’t always have much time to react to a natural disaster.  But if you have warning, act calmly but quickly.  For more information on how to be safe before, during and after a tornado, visit FEMA.gov.  Also, here is another great article on how to help your pets in case of an emergency from Paw Prints the Magazine.

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