National Preparedness Month, disaster planning for animalsby jmaloni
by the Niagara County Department of Health
September is National Preparedness Month.
The Niagara County Department of Health Emergency Preparedness Division encourages community members to remember their pets and service animals when planning for emergencies. In every major fire, flood weather or other disaster in the U.S., officials are tasked with managing animals that are lost, abandoned, injured or diseased. This is a public health concern, as loose animals create additional risks of injury and disease to the people in affected communities.
The Department of Homeland Security requires localities to demonstrate animal management capabilities in disasters. The Health Department and Niagara County residents can work together to make our communities more resilient by building animal management capabilities before a disaster strikes.
The Niagara County Department of Health Emergency Preparedness Division recommends people take action to assure their companion and service animals have adequate arrangements for their health and safety during emergencies:
•Assure pets are vaccinated for rabies. Go to www.niagaracounty.com/Portals/4/Docs/rabiesschedule.pdf.
•Have a plan and a buddy system to assure someone else can care for an animal if the owner cannot
•Prepare a supply kit. Go to http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/pets_brochure.pdf.
To fulfill Homeland Security grant planning and training requirements for building local animal emergency response capabilities, the division has planned two events:
•On Sept. 16, the division will conduct animal first aid training for the Niagara County Animal Response Team and the Niagara County Medical Reserve Corps. Participants will learn about disaster response for animals, how to perform injury assessments and how to administer first aid.
•On Sept. 26, the division will operate an emergency animal micro-chipping clinic exercise from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Niagara Pet Food Pantry, located at 8600 Buffalo Ave., in Niagara Falls. This microchip clinic is free to low income families. Dr. Kristen Ruest has volunteered to insert the microchips. The microchip process includes a photo ID and a lifetime enrollment into the National Animal Recovery Database.
Pet owners who wish to attend the microchip clinic must pre-register for appointments by calling 716-439-7439 or 716-439-7431. All cats and dogs must be restrained with leashes or carriers. Community members are welcome to visit the Niagara Pet Food Pantry on the day of the exercise to receive information or make pet food donations.
Pets should be up to date with rabies vaccinations prior to microchip clinic. Free vaccinations are available from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Niagara County rabies clinic on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Lockport Highway Garage.