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Prepare for Emergencies – Part II – Natural Disasters

Blue Headed Pionus Parrot

Previously I created a home preparedness list for the sorts of emergencies that might commonly arise in homes with pet birds. However, there are some emergencies that require even greater preparedness. A household fire could be a time of great panic. While you might not feel at risk for this type of emergency, it is always a possibility. You don’t want to be searching for pet carriers and towels should you ever have to get out of your home quickly in the event of a fire.If you live in an area that is prone to any major natural events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes, you definitely need to make special preparations to make sure you are prepared to care for your pets after such a disaster.

There are two general rules of thumb that are particularly important for people who live in areas where disasters can strike with little warning (earthquakes and tornadoes).

1. Never let yourself get down to your last bag of seed/pellets.

2. Never let yourself run low on bottled water.

After a natural disaster it can be extremely difficult to get supplies. You don’t want to realize you have no tap water and a bunch of birds looking up at you with thirsty looks on their faces. Obviously you can make do with other foods in the home. However, if you have a finicky eater, you don’t want to be caught with only foods your bird won’t touch. It is best to keep enough seed, pellets, favorite foods, and water on hand to last 5-7 days for all your birds.

If you live in an area where you might be asked to evacuate, you may not be able to bring your birds with you if you wait until the last minute. It is best in such a situation to be an “early bird” and evacuate at first warning. This way you can calmly pack up your pets and take them to a location where you know in advance you will be allowed to keep them. If you think every motel will allow your six conures, you are wrong. You need to do your research in advance so you know where to go in an evacuation. Public shelters will not allow pets in most cases.

In all these situations, it is important to have enough carriers for all your birds. If you have one carrier that is shared among your birds for vet visits or the like, you will not have an easy time evacuating. As most people know, you cannot put birds who do not know each other in such a small enclosed space. Fighting is bound to ensue.

If you have small birds, carriers can be bought for a very reasonable price. You can add your own perch, purchase feed cups that fit in nicely, and make sure it is outfitted properly for your bird.

For larger birds there are collapsible carriers that include perches and seed cups. These are easy to store and can be popped open in a matter of minutes.

If you have birds who panic when confronted with a carrier, be sure you keep a towel near the carrier so it is readily available should you need to put your bird into it quickly.

It is a good idea to have a portable evacuation kit on hand. This should include seeds, pellets, dried fruit and vegetables (without sulfites added), bottled water, and your bird’s favorite treats. Keep this near your regular emergency kit since you may need this as well should your bird panic and break a blood feather or injure itself. Also include special thermal (camping) blankets to provide warmth should you lose electricity.

WARNING: DO NOT EVER USE outdoor camping stoves or any sort of outdoor grill to supply heat in a home after the loss of electricity. These produce DEADLY carbon monoxide. They are burning fuel. They must be used only outside. Anything that burns produces fumes. This is why stoves and fireplaces have vents and chimneys.

Remember that in an emergency situation you will not be thinking clearly. You will be concerned about your safety, the safety of your family, and the safety of your pets. This is not the time to figure out where an extra bag of seed is to throw in the car. This is not the time to wonder how you will evacuate your six birds with two carriers.

Preparation is key to surviving natural disasters.

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