As you have heard recently through this blog, NFPA launched its TakeAction campaign aimed at youth who live in wildfire risk areas. (If you haven't, take a minute and check out my post from October 2 that explains the campaign, how it came to be, and offers a couple of great videos to watch, too!) The campaign was born out of the results of a number of workshops NFPA held a couple of years ago with teens and their parents who had experienced a wildfire, and we asked them to tell us their stories, their concerns, and their hopes.
The second part of the TakeAction campaign focuses on one of the key messages the students shared with us in those workshops. It's one that we know will be near and dear to your hearts. Pets! I'm sure you can attest to this in your own homes: we treat our household pets and horses and other animals on our farms as members of our family. The students in the workshops told us that even more than material goods, they wanted to make sure their pets stayed safe during a wildfire evacuation, but they weren't sure how to do that.
I pose the same question to you. Do you know what happens when you're called to evacuate in an emergency? Has your family prepared your pets for an evacuation like you have prepared every human member in your home? For those of us living in a wildfire risk area, we know that once we get the call to evacuate, we need to move as quickly as possible. Being familiar with what happens in an evacuation, knowing how and when to leave, and building a kit for each animal increases the likelihood that all family members will leave safely and together long before a fire reaches their property.
So where do you start? NFPA has developed a fun video created for teens and families to share with friends on social media as a way to encourage everyone to get involved. Take a moment to watch it with your family and talk about what you've learned.
After you watch the video, take a look at our great resources. We've got a checklist for horses and one for household pets that you can download and help you get started on creating that evacuation kit for each pet in your family. We even include a number of great tips and resources that'll help you prepare all year long.
Evacuations are never easy, and it's especially unsettling when we know our pets and horses and other farm animals are also in danger. But there's something you CAN do to help make the situation easier, and give you greater piece of mind. Take advantage of the resources our TakeAction campaign has to offer. Start building your pet evacuation kits today so tomorrow, when a wildfire threatens your area, you'll be ready when your family gets the call to leave.
Find the video and all of our resources on www.nfpa.org/takeaction. For more pet preparedness tips, check out our pet safety tips sheet, available to download now on NFPA's safety information webpage.