The recent fire at a large apartment complex on Lindell Blvd. highlighted the importance of emergency planning for yourself and your pets. While several pets were reunited with their owners, most of the pets that were in the apartment building at the time of the fire are believed to have perished. The loss of a beloved pet can be as devastating as the loss of a close friend. For many people, pets are like family. Just as you would engage in emergency preparedness for yourself and your family members, remember to include your pet, too.
The three key steps to Ready-in-3 Emergency Preparedness are: 1) make a plan, 2) prepare a kit and 3) listen for information. These steps apply to your pets, too. When you make your plan, think about sheltering in place with a pet or evacuating with a pet. What supplies will you need for your pet for an extended period? If you have to evacuate to a different living space, will they accept pets? Where can your pets go if you cannot take them with you?
When you prepare your emergency kit, think about what your pet needs on a daily basis. Pack additional water, pet food and medicine(s) for your pets in addition to the supplies for you and your family. Keep an additional restraining device and a food/water bowl in your kit.
Listening for information is also key. Any news releases about the emergency will provide you with additional instructions that you may need. They will also convey contact information for other emergency services and resources.
For those apartment dwellers who were not at home at the time of the fire, there was little they could do to protect the pets that were left at home. However, one thing that pet owners can do to be prepared for future emergencies is notify emergency responders of the presence of a pet in the house. This can be done with stickers that can be adhered to the front and back doors (see sample below). These stickers are available at most pet supply stores. Knowing that a pet is in the residence may save that pet’s life in the event of an emergency.
City of St. Louis
Department of Health