HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As tropical systems Julio and Iselle's paths are expected to pass over the Hawaiian Islands later this week, The Humane Society of the United States reminds residents to include pets in their disaster preparedness plans.
While the path and force of Iselle is still uncertain, the storm could produce high winds and flooding. Residents in the potential areas of impact should stay up-to-date on the storm's progress, including bringing animals inside to protect them from flooding or loose debris should the winds strengthen. Pet owners should have an emergency plan and kit that includes their animals, and always be informed about the potential for evacuation in their area should the storm strengthen.
Inga Gibson, Hawaii senior state director for The HSUS, advises: "If it's not safe for you; it's not safe for your pet. If you must evacuate, then please take your pets with you."
The HSUS reminds pet owners to create a pet emergency kit that is available if people should have to shelter in place or evacuate. Be sure to put a collar with visible identification on pets, including indoor-only pets. The kit should include:
• Five-or-more-day supply of food in airtight, waterproof container, and drinking water. Be sure to include a can opener if including canned food.
• Bowls for food and water
• Current photos and physical description of your pets, including details on markings. Ideally you should also be in the photo.
• Medications, vaccination records and pet first aid supplies
• Comfort items such as a toy and blanket
• Small garbage bags
• Paper towels
• For dogs include: leash, harness with identification information and a sturdy carrier large enough to use as a sleeping area.
• For cats include: litter and litter box, collar with identification information and a sturdy carrier large enough for transport
Pet owners should be aware that many evacuation shelters do not accept pets, and they must plan their destination in advance. Please check with local animal shelters or emergency management offices to determine if a pet friendly emergency shelter will be set up in your location. Pet owners should remember that having their pets microchipped dramatically increases the chance of reunion if their pet becomes lost.
More than 60 percent of Hawaii households have a pet. A Zogby International poll, conducted after Hurricane Katrina, found 61 percent of pet owners will not evacuate if they cannot bring their pets with them.
For more information on how to prepare for disasters, visit www.humanesociety.org/prepare.