Cyclones are a fact of life in North Queensland!
Every year between November and April coastal regions like Townsville risk being hit by one.
We can't get complacent because of an average or below average outlook.
We must not relax because Townsville survived Yasi remarkably well – we will get another sometime, it will just have another name. Remember Cyclone Athena in the 1970’s that tore up the Strand and smashed the town. Remember Tracey that destroyed Darwin and forced evacuation of the whole city.
We recommend that people with pets need to plan for them now as a matter of urgency. Be sure to check the City Council’s Emergency Disaster Plan to see what is required of you with respect to dealing with pet animals. Check the Council’s website, pick up a “Pets and Cyclones” brochure at your local vet clinic, or if all else fails, phone the Council helpline and ask for advice.
Make your plan now, before it is all hitting the fan and you are so freaked out you can’t think straight. If a category 4 or 5 cyclone hits you will be in a panic and unable to think clearly. Even if we get a category 5 cyclone however, it is most unlikely that you will end up sitting on the roof
of your home until flood water surrounds you, waiting for helicopter rescue, or have to move out in the back of an army truck with only the clothes on your back. But all of that can happen, and it has before, so you do have to be prepared.
Following are some points to consider when making your emergency plan:
- Do not assume that pet animals will be allowed into emergency accommodation
- Do not assume that you can whiz your pets out to a nearby boarding kennel or cattery
- Be aware that emergency transport being used for evacuation may not allow pet animals to accompany rescued persons
- Contact hotels and motels outside the threat area and check their policies on accepting pets and any restriction on size, species, etc
- Check whether animal boarding facilities close by or outside the threat area can provide accommodation for pets in the event of evacuation
- Keep your pets vaccinations up to date and have records available to take with you if you have to evacuate – shelters and boarding facilities will not admit animals without these records
- Before all else we ask:
- Is your pet clearly identified?
- Does it have a collar and ID tag?
- Does it have a proper microchip with correct registration and contact details?
- Ensure you have got recent photos of your pets available to help with identification in the event you become separated from them
- If your pet is on medication ensure you have an adequate supply to cover a disaster event
- If your pet wears a choker collar, have a separate leather or nylon one available so no injury occurs if the pet is tied up during stressful conditions. We have seen cases of dogs that have strangled themselves with choker collars.
- Sort adequate supplies, such as:
- Clean water
- Carry basket
- Litter tray
- Food/water bowls
- Can opener/food containers
- Buy a pet carrier large enough to enable your pet to stand and move around. Make sure that are comfortable in the carrier and train them to enter and spend time in it
- If you have to move to higher ground, can the pets be accommodated in the vehicle? If you don’t have a vehicle, do you know who is going to be taking you to a safer place – and will they allow pets to go with you?
- If the worst happens be prepared to leave your pets as safe as you can and hope they make it. Consider the following if you are forced to abandon your pets.
- Place each pet in a separate room – even pets that normally get on well together can become aggressive toward each other under the stress; a category 4 or 5 cyclone is scary, noisy and frightening.
- Do not tie them up
- Small rooms without windows, which are easy to clean, such as toilets and bathrooms are most appropriate
- Garages are not safe – the doors can get blown in, sucked out, and flap about dangerously when broken
- Leave normal bedding and favourite toys with them to help control anxiety
- If there is a threat of flooding, or storm surge, leave furniture which will allow them to gain height
- Leave two or three days supply of dry food and water in a large heavy container that is difficult to knock over
- Leave a notice on the outside and inside of your doors advising emergency services personnel of which animals they are likely to encounter in which rooms. Also leave all your contact details
Please think it through – find out what you need to prepare for cyclones in Queensland. Get all your supplies ready to go in one place. Don’t be like the rabbit in the head lights – be smart and be safe. There will always be those who will never be properly organised no matter how much warning they are given – just don’t be one of them yourself! Cyclones in Queensland are a fact of life!
In the middle of a cyclone our Western Suburbs Vet Clinic will be shut-up safely, sand bagged, and we will be sheltering to survive like everyone else.
However, we have emergency power generation for lighting and refrigeration, and after Yasi we were functional within 48 hours. So, although while the cyclone is on top of us we shall be struggling to survive like everyone else, we expect to be available to assist your pets with emergency veterinary treatment injuries and illness as soon as is practically possible, in the aftermath.[/full_width]