Preparing for Hurricane Season in a Pandemic


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June 1 marked the first day of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, and experts believe that this year will be an active one. 

With 19 storms anticipated (and three already formed), it’s imperative that pet owners—especially those in areas that might be more susceptible to hurricane damage—reevaluate their emergency plans in light of the pandemic. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided relief to those impacted by tornados and other natural disasters since COVID-19 washed over America, but a dangerous hurricane’s impact will need a significant amount of resources to help a community recover, and when resources are stretched, it may take longer for help to arrive. 

Hurricanes may cause damage that can’t be prevented, but people can work to ensure they are protected and their family is protected. Here are some tips to share with customers on how they can proactively prepare to help furry family members ahead of this upcoming hurricane season.

 

Reevaluating Evacuation
An evacuation plan may likely be complicated as a result of social distancing policies still in place. Establish a list of pet-friendly places to go, such as pet-friendly hotels, friends and family that are welcome to having you in their homes. Given social distancing restrictions about gatherings of no more than 10 individuals in a house at a time in certain areas of the country, having backup plans will ensure that if an evacuation is needed, you’ll have a place to go in mind.  

 

Have Documentation at the Ready
Make sure documentation is up-to-date and documents are printed out and available to grab. Should you need to evacuate, having records of your pets immunizations, and medical records is imperative. Given that customers that have been self-isolating, they may not have had a chance to visit the vet in the last few months. Scheduling a check up can help pet parents get a clear picture of their pet's health, and have the right medications at hand should they need it. 

 

Packing and Preparing Emergency Products
Having a pet first-aid kit on hand is useful to pet parents at any time, but in a pinch, it may make all the differences for a pet’s health and wellbeing. Having products that can quickly address a variety of pet ailments, such as bug bites and skin rashes, cuts, scrapes and wounds, will help ease a pet’s discomfort. 

As we’ve seen consumers stock up on products throughout the pandemic, keeping an extra bag of food or treats around in case of an emergency can help alleviate stress in a moment of crisis. Another way to be prepared is to have products at that ready that can help pets feel as comfortable as possible in case of an evacuation. A pet crate, a portable water bowl, an extra leash, collar or harness are a few items that will help if an evacuation takes place. 

In the midst of a natural disaster, another important item that needs to be up-to-date and accurate is a pet’s ID tag. In the event that pets are separated, having an ID that reflects a pet’s current address and a potential way to contact them is key to help them reunite with family members again. 

 

As a retailer, offering the resources you can to pet parents, whether that be in the form of information on how to help ease a pet’s anxiety during a powerful storm, or what products can help treat a pet’s rash or condition in the event they can’t access a vet right away, can make a huge difference. Thinking ahead, especially during a time of uncertainty such as this one, can help ensure that pets and people stay as safe as possible. 

 

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