Wednesday, May 22, 2013

American Humane Association offers tips for before, during and after a tornado

Image via
Tornadoes are among the most terrifying and destructive natural phenomena – and they rarely give much warning. Having an emergency plan for your entire family – including your pets, is critical in staying safe during a tornado or severe storm.

The experts at American Humane Association have put together a series of tips to help before, during and after a tornado strikes.

Before a tornado: 
  • Microchip pets or put a tag on their collar with your name, address and cellphone number so they may be returned quickly in case you are separated from your pets. 
  • Identify a tornado-safe area large enough for your entire family and pets (often a basement or the most interior room of the house on the bottom floor). 
  • Practice getting the entire family to the tornado-safe area quickly during calm weather. 
  • Make your tornado-safe area pet-friendly by removing any dangerous items such as tools or toxic products. 
  • Keep your family and pet preparedness kits in your tornado-safe area or close by. Ensure that you have a crate for every animal. 
  • Know your pet’s hiding places and how to quickly and safely extricate them. Eliminate any unsafe hiding areas from which it may be difficult to remove your animal in a hurry. 

During a tornado: 
  • If an evacuation is possible, take your pets with you. Make sure you take your pet preparedness kit and that your animals have proper identification. 
  • If you cannot evacuate, take your entire family – including pets – to your tornado-safe room. 
  • Pets should be put in crates or carriers in the safe room. If possible, place the crates under a sturdy piece of furniture. 

After the storm has passed: 
  • Use caution allowing your pets and other family members outdoors. Exit only AFTER the entire storm has passed. 
  • Assess the damage yourself first before bringing your pets outside with you. 
  • Keep your dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier. 
  • Watch for objects that could cause injury or harm to your pet. 
  • Allow them to become re-oriented. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and cause your pet confusion or to become lost. 
  • Keep pets away from food, water or liquids that could be contaminated from the storm. 
  • Keep children and pets away from downed power lines and debris. 
  • Your pet’s behavior may change after a crisis, becoming more aggressive or self-protective. Be sensitive to these changes and keep more room between them, other animals, children or strangers.
  • Comfort your pet with kind words and lots of pats or hugs. If possible, provide a safe and quiet environment, even if it is not in your own home. 

For information on how you can help the people and animals affected by the tornado in Moore, Okla., please read this post at


  1. Especially interesting to expect behavior changes after a disaster. I wonder if the same thing happens after a fire or other stressful event?