- Emergency Management
- Emergency Information
- Getting Prepared
- Animals In Disasters
- Carbon Monoxide
- Electrical Generators
- Extreme Cold
- Extreme Heat
Animals in Disasters
Make a Pet Emergency Plan:
- ID your pet. Make sure your pet’s tags are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home. Also consider microchipping your pets.
- Make sure you have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.
- Make a pet emergency kit. Download Preparing Makes Sense for Pet Owners for a full list of items to include in your pets kit.
Check out this quick list:
- Pet food
- Bottled water
- Veterinary records
- Cat litter/pan
- Manual can opener
- Food dishes
- First aid kit and other supplies
- Identify shelters. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to allow pets well in advance of needing them. There are also a number of guides that list hotels/motels that permit pets and could serve as a starting point. Include your local animal shelter's number in your list of emergency numbers.
- Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can't escape.
Prepare Shelter for Your Pet:
- Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter or animal control office to get advice and information.
- If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located. Be sure to research some outside your local area in case local facilities close.
- Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current. Include copies in your "pet survival" kit along with a photo of your pet.
- Some animal shelters will provide temporary foster care for owned pets in times of disaster but this should be considered only as a last resort.
- If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger! Confine your pet to a safe area inside - NEVER leave your pet chained outside! Leave them loose inside your home with food and plenty of water. Remove the toilet tank lid, raise the seat and brace the bathroom door open so they can drink. Place a notice outside in a visible area, advising what pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached as well as the name and number of your vet.
Protect Your Pet During a Disaster:
- Bring your pets inside immediately.
- Have newspapers on hand for sanitary purposes. Feed animals moist or canned food so they will need less water to drink.
- Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
- Separate dogs and cats. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally. Keep small pets away from cats and dogs.
- In an emergency, you may have to take your birds with you. Talk with your veterinarian or local pet store about special food dispensers that regulate the amount of food a bird is given. Make sure that the bird is caged and the cage is covered by a thin cloth or sheet to provide security and filtered light.
- If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.
- If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency.
- Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can't care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.
Caring for Your Pet After a Disaster:
- If you leave town after a disaster, take your pets with you. Pets are unlikely to survive on their own.
- In the first few days after the disaster, leash your pets when they go outside. Always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost. Also, snakes and other dangerous animals may be brought into the area with flood areas. Downed power lines are a hazard.
- The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter and water.
Tips for Large Animals:
If you have large animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats or pigs on your property, be sure to prepare before a disaster.
- Ensure all animals have some form of identification.
- Evacuate animals whenever possible. Map out primary and secondary routes in advance.
- Make available vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting each type of animal. Also make available experienced handlers and drivers. Note: It is best to allow animals a chance to become accustomed to vehicular travel so they are less frightened and easier to move.
- Ensure destinations have food, water, veterinary care and handling equipment.
- If evacuation is not possible, animal owners must decide whether to move large animals to shelter or turn them outside.
Cold Weather Guidelines for Large Animals:
When temperatures plunge below zero, owners of large animals and livestock producers need to give extra attention to their animals. Prevention is the key to dealing with hypothermia, frostbite and other cold weather injuries in livestock.
Make sure your livestock has the following to help prevent cold-weather problems:
- Plenty of dry bedding to insulate vulnerable udders, genitals and legs from the frozen ground and frigid winds
- Windbreaks to keep animals safe from frigid conditions
- Plenty of food and water
Take extra time to observe livestock, looking for early signs of disease and injury. Severe cold-weather injuries or death primarily occur in the very young or in animals that are already debilitated. Cases of weather-related sudden death in calves often result when cattle are suffering from undetected infection, particularly pneumonia. Sudden, unexplained livestock deaths and illnesses should be investigated quickly so that a cause can be identified and steps can be taken to protect the remaining animals.
Animals suffering from frostbite don’t exhibit pain. It may be up to two weeks before the injury becomes evident as the damaged tissue starts to slough away. At that point, the injury should be treated as an open wound and a veterinarian should be consulted. (information provided by ready.gov)
Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide.
- CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
- Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Call your local fire department’s non-emergency number to find out what number to call if the CO alarm sounds.
- Test CO alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries. If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call the fire department.
- If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel.
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
- During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
- A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
- Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO — only use outside.
- Operate it outdoors to avoid fumes accumulating inside the house.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator or have the generator properly attached to your home's wiring by a qualified electrician.
- Never connect a portable generator to your home’s main electrical panel, and never plug one into an electrical outlet of your home.
- Contact a licensed Electrician for instruction and any electrical work.
- Minimize travel.
- Stay indoors during the worst part of the extreme cold.
- Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle if you must travel.
- Check tire pressure, antifreeze levels, heater/defroster, etc.
- Learn how to shut off water valves for potential pipe bursts.
- Check on the elderly.
- Bring pets inside.
How Should I Dress?
- Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing, and a hat.
- Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves.
- Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
- Try to stay dry and out of the wind.
For more information visit http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather
Heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.
Most heat disorders occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat or has over-exercised for his or her age and physical condition. Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to succumb to extreme heat.
Conditions that can induce heat-related illnesses include stagnant atmospheric conditions and poor air quality. Consequently, people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than those living in rural areas. Also, asphalt and concrete store heat longer and gradually release heat at night, which can produce higher nighttime temperatures known as the "urban heat island effect."
A heat wave is an extended period of extreme heat, and is often accompanied by high humidity. These conditions can be dangerous and even life-threatening for humans who don't take the proper precautions.
TERMS TO KNOW:
Heat Index – a measure of how hot it really feels when the relative humidity is combined with the actual air temperature Heat Advisory – issued when a heat index value of between 105F and 110F is expected for at least three hours.
Excessive Heat WATCH– issued when conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 24 to 72 hours.
Excessive Heat WARNING– issued when a heat index value of 110F of greater is expected within the next 12 to 24 hours.
Severe heat, often combined with high humidity during the summer, can create serious health risks. The elderly, infants, and those with certain chronic illnesses, such as asthma, are particularly at risk, especially if air conditioning is not available.
During periods with extreme heat:
- Slow down. Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day.
- Dress for the weather. Loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps the body maintain normal temperatures.
- Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with sugar, caffeine or alcohol.
- Spend more time in air-conditioned places.
- Limit the amount of time you spend in the sun.
During heat waves, cooling centers may be opened in strategic locations throughout the County to provide residents with a place to seek refuge from severe heat. Information about cooling center locations and hours will be provided to the community via radio, television, social media and other appropriate media outlets.
For more information on Extreme Heat, visit: http://www.ready.gov/heat
Fires are one of the most common disasters to affect our community.
To help prevent fires:
- Check electrical wiring and appliances and replace worn or frayed cords.
- Do not overload circuits with too many appliances.
- Do not string extension cords under rugs.
- Flammable liquids should be stored in approved containers. Never use flammable liquids indoors or near flames.
- Have fireplaces, furnaces, and stoves cleaned and inspected every year.
- Do not put paper, magazines, or other flammable materials on radiators, near stoves, or fireplaces.
- Do not use grills indoors or on balconies.
- Develop a safe escape route for your family in case of fire. Plan two ways of escape in the event one path is blocked by fire.
- Establish a meeting place outside for everyone.
- Conduct regular fire drills.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in your home.
In case of a fire:
- Stay low. If you are in bed, roll out and crawl on the floor under the smoke.
- Crawl to the door, using the wall as a guide. Check the door for heat with the back of your hand before opening.
- If the door is cool to the touch, open slowly so that it can be shut quickly if flames or smoke are on the other side.
- If the door is hot or smoke is seeping underneath, do not open the door. Put a blanket, towel, robe, or heavy clothing in the crack.
- If you cannot exit through the door, use the wall as a guide and crawl to a window and open it. Take a sheet or large piece of cloth and wave it and shout for help if you are unable to climb out of the window to the ground to safety.
- Take short breaths and cover your nose and mouth with clothing or a towel to avoid breathing in fumes and smoke.
- Shout “FIRE” once outside the heavy smoke to signal to others. While still inside the house, you can signal to others in the home by pounding on walls or floors.
- Escape first. If firefighters are not at the scene, call or tell someone to call 911. Do not go back inside to make the call.
Smoke alarms can warn that there is a fire, but you must maintain them if they are to work properly. Check and replace batteries every six months. A good way to remember is to change the batteries every daylight savings time change. Some units will beep when the batteries need to be replaced.
- Clean the alarm regularly to keep out dust that can damage the unit.
- Test the alarm monthly by pushing the test button.
- Newer smoke alarms may have a 10-year battery that will not need to be replaced every six months. Make sure to check and see which type of smoke alarm you have, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for battery replacement and testing.
- It is recommended that any type of smoke alarm be replaced every 10 years.
- Take into account the needs of all members of your household. Install visual smoke alarms as well as audible versions if any individuals in your family are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Floods are not one of the most common hazards in Powhatan County, however not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, while others such a flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Additionally, floods can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins.
Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or a sudden release of water held by an ice jam. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water carrying rocks, mud and other debris. Overland flooding, the most common type of flooding event typically occurs when waterways such as rivers or streams overflow their banks as a result of rainwater or a possible levee breach and cause flooding in surrounding areas. It can also occur when rainfall or snowmelt exceeds the capacity of underground pipes, or the capacity of streets and drains designed to carry flood water away from urban areas.
Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.
For more information on flooding, visit: http://www.ready.gov/floods
TERMS TO KNOW:
Flood or Flash Flood WATCH – flooding or flash flooding is possible for your area.
Flood or Flash Flood WARNING – flooding is expected or is already taking place in your area.
Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States, and while some floods develop slowly, others can develop within a few minutes. Flooding can occur no matter where you live. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, or low-lying ground can flood. There is no such thing as a “flood proof” area; any area can flood, even high ground. Some floods take days to develop, but flash floods can result in raging waters very quickly. If you live in an area that has high risk from flooding:
- Avoid building in a floodplain
- Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home
- Consider installing check valves to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
- If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
TURN AROUND DON’T DROWN:
NEVER walk or drive through floodwaters. If your car stalls on a flooded roadway, abandon it and move to higher ground.
After a flood:
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
There is no place safe outdoors when a thunderstorm is nearby. Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from the thunderstorm, so if you are close enough to hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. If you see lightning or hear thunder, it’s time to seek shelter.
- Have a plan. Know where you’ll go for safety and how long it takes to get there. Give yourself plenty of time to get to shelter.
- Check the forecast and check with your emergency management office if storms are expected. Think about postponing outdoor activities to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation.
- Keep an eye to the sky for signs of developing thunderstorms.
- If you hear thunder, move to a safer place. Don’t wait for the rain.
- Fully enclosed buildings with wiring and plumbing provide the best protection. This is because there is a common ground.
- Sheds, picnic shelters, dugouts, tents or covered porches do not protect you from lightning. The reason is that there is not a common ground.
- If a building is not close-by, get into a vehicle and close all the windows.
- Stay inside until the storm has passed.
- If you hear thunder, don’t use a phone that is attached to a wall outlet. Cordless phones and cell phones are safe to use at least as we know of right now. Stay away from electrical equipment, wiring and water pipes. Avoid baths and showers.
- Avoid open areas. Stay away from trees, towers or utility poles. Do not be the tallest object in the area.