Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your bird – food, water and comfort.
Think about two Disaster Survival Kits –
- One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit).
- The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway Kit) for when you, your family and your bird need to leave
Place these kits somewhere easy to get to in a hurry and make sure everyone in the house knows where they are kept, including a neighbour.
Always re-check these kits for expiry dates, to ensure supplies stay fresh. Water should always be replaced every six months to ensure freshness.
Pets are usually not permitted in public shelters or evacuation centres, so you need to plan and agree on a ‘Safe House’ or an animal shelter that you and your bird (or just your bird) could go to.
Plan and agree with a family member or friend (who doesn’t live with you and who has ideally cared for your bird in the past) if they will care for your bird for any length of time, in case of a disaster. Place their full name, address and telephone number in your emergency survival kit in a waterproof container. All adults and children in your household should know these primary and alternative contacts (names / addresses / contact numbers) or always carry this information with them.
Show them and a neighbour where your disaster survival kits are just in case you are not at home when disaster strikes and you are cut off from returning to your bird. This means they can at least feed and attend to your bird in the interim. Have a plan to communicate with your pet’s carer after the event. You will want to arrange a meeting place in a safe area so you can be reunited with your bird.
Make a list of contact information and addresses of other potential places you may be able to leave your bird (motels that allow pets or local vet centres). Keep a list on you at all times and a copy in each of your disaster survival kits. Always call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to evacuate from home.
GIVE IT A GO
To ensure your family and bird can move fast and feel comfortable if you need to shelter in place in a disaster, you should practice getting your family unit into your safe place in the house (where your emergency survival kits are kept). You can time yourselves and give it another go from time to time to see how fast (but not panicked) you can operate.
Then try again to your chosen ‘Safe House/Shelter’. By practicing an evacuation your bird will get use to entering and travelling calmly in their cage/carrier.
Try doing practice runs, also in the dark. This will ensure you can navigate quicker if a disaster strikes during the night or if there is a power cut.
Emergency Survival Items
|Food||Store at least five days of non-perishable bird food in an airtight, waterproof container. Unlike other animals, birds must eat everyday.|
|Water||Store at least three days of water for your bird, in addition to the water you need for your family. Plus you will need extra water to clean up after your bird.|
|Medication||Store an extra supply of medication your bird needs in a waterproof container as well as special dietary needs or supplements.|
|Vet Records||Store copies of any medical records in a watertight container including your vet’s name and telephone number (in case you have to board your bird or place them in foster care).|
|First Aid Kit||Store any extra first aid items and talk to your vet about any other requirements.|
|Bedding||A cover to put over the cage or toys inside the cage can help to reduce stress for your bird.|
|Sanitation||Include any useful items like newspapers and paper towels to clean out the cage.|
|Photograph||Store a current photograph of your bird in a waterproof container, including notes on: distinguishing features, name, sex, colour and breed. Also include a photograph of you and your bird together as this helps prove they are yours if you become separated.|
|Back up||As a back-up, save identification details, medical and veterinary details, key contact details and all photographs electronically – to places such as ‘Dropbox’, your mobile phone or save a folder in your Webmail. This means you can still access these vital details if you are cut off from returning to your bird.|
|Gloves||Any sturdy kind of equipment that you think will help handle and control your bird, particularly in a stressful situation. Think strong and reliable as your bird may panic and try to escape by scratching and biting.|
|Cages or Carrier||This is to transport your bird safely and ensure they cannot escape. Remember anything cardboard/paper based (i.e. pet carrier box) will disintegrate.|
A cage/carrier should be large enough for your bird to move around comfortably, perch and stretch. Your pet may have to stay in the cage/carrier for days so include any favourite toys to reduce stress levels.
Make sure your bird’s cage/carrier includes a tag that clearly states their name, your name, phone number and if there is room your address. Include a back-up tag in your bird’s disaster survival kit.