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Emergency Preparedness: How to Stay Safe
and Help Others in Need
Getting People & Animals Ready;
APNM Fire Fund Serves Disaster Victims
Fire Season is Here!  Tips for Being Prepared
In the past week, all eyes have been on New Mexico’s first major wildfire of the season. As of Friday, the Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire in Catron Co. burned over 80,000 acres and forced a voluntary evacuation of Mogollon. Sadly, with continued drought conditions throughout the state, this will likely not be the only blaze to adversely affect large numbers of people and animals in 2012.
 
Have A PLAN for EVERYONE! Don’t leave horses or any animal confined in barns or fenced in, but keep in mind that letting horses out can be deadly for them and dangerous to first responders. Know where your household pets, horses and livestock will go AND how they’ll get there – even if you’re not home. Opening the gates should be an absolute last resort. Photo
Today's news reinforces the critical need for everyone to consider the dreaded “what-ifs” during this high-risk fire season. Unlike floods or earthquakes where you might be able to take cover in part of your home, wildfires are fast-moving, unpredictable and all-consuming. The safest strategy is to gather all your animals, your important personal belongings and get out! Have enough supplies to be away from your home for at least three days to a week. Once areas are evacuated, residents are not allowed to re-enter until authorities determine it’s safe.

  > Make sure you have an Evacuation Plan for you and your family, including your animals, and talk to your neighbors about how to help each other if an evacuation is announced when you’re away from home. 

  > Create a Grab-And-Go List of what you’ll want to take that you can grab in five minutes, including important documents and medications for both humans and animals, cell phone, drinking water, food, clothing, photos, computer back-up, and animal supplies (see links on our web page for more detailed lists). 

  > Prepare your animals as well as your family – take dogs, cats and other small animals for practice trips in the car, then do the same in a rushed manner. Practice loading horses and other large animals into trailers so they’ll be less stressed when it’s really time to go. 

  > When you do evacuate, make sure to notify your local disaster assembly point or the American Red Cross Safe and Well website so friends and family know you’re safe.

  > To find open Red Cross shelters by address, city, state, and/or zip code, go to app.redcross.org/nss-app - this site is updated every 30 minutes. Most Red Cross shelters do not provide facilities for companion animals, but APNM will be working with Red Cross and other agencies to expand options for nearby or co-sheltering facilities throughout the state.
REMEMBER:
       * PREPARE – Have a Plan, Use Your List, Know Where To Go
       * PRACTICE – Family Drills, Loading Animals
       * ACT – Evacuate Right Away, Notify Others That You’re Safe
Go to APNM’s Animal Safety Planning web page for a collection of helpful information, including how to create a Disaster Kit for Animals and various links for animal-friendly hotels in New Mexico.
Smoke From Distant Fires - Protect Your Animals
Even if you live hundreds of miles from a wildfire, smoke in the atmosphere can have harmful effects on companion animals. Luckily, a few simple recommendations from New Mexico Veterinary Medical Association will help keep your animals healthy and safe when smoke is thick.
  • Don’t let companion animals loose to roam about; keep them indoors whenever possible.
  • Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible. Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car.
  • Provide plenty of water for your animals so they can keep their airways moist.
  • Exposure to smoke can cause coughing, watery and itchy eyes, difficulty breathing, and other problems. Animals experiencing questionable or severe symptoms from smoke exposure should get professional veterinary advice and treatment.
  • Wildlife may be confused or startled by smoky conditions and could potentially harm your family or animals. Please be cautious, as some animals may be moving about at unusual times of the day.
Help animals through APNM’s Fire Fund
The Fire Fund, thanks to contributions from generous New Mexicans, has been responding to the needs of animals and families affected by destructive blazes since the 2000 Cerro Grande fire. Fund monies are distributed to organizations that have made significant efforts to provide shelter and care for animals displaced or injured by wildfire. Last year, in response to the catastrophic Las Conchas fire, APNM donated $4,000 to shelters including Santa Fe Animal Shelter, Española Valley Humane Society, and The Wildlife Center.

As we continue to watch the landscape and prepare, we know funds will be desperately needed to support the organizations stepping up to help during disasters. Please consider contributing to the Fire Fund to help ensure this resource is robust and available in the months and years to come. You can donate online (please list “Fire Fund” in the Designate my Donation section) or mail a check with “Fire Fund” in memo line to:
APNM
P.O. Box 11395
Albuquerque, NM  87192

*Donations to APNM are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

To support New Mexico animal shelters directly in their day-to-day lifesaving work, please visit APNM’s Shelter Savvy webpage for more information.

...& Our Equine Volunteer Network
 
If you prefer to contribute a little elbow grease or other resources toward helping animals, please consider joining the Equine Protection Fund’s statewide Volunteer Network. The network is a database of compassionate individuals offering a variety of services and/or supplies to help a horse, donkey or mule in need. Horses are some of the most vulnerable animals in catastrophic events like wildfires, which typically hit hardest in rural areas. Last year’s Las Conchas fire prompted APNM to send an urgent message to the Equine Protection Fund’s Volunteer Network, which responded with temporary shelter, transportation, and feed for seventeen horses.

With your participation in your county, we can expand this important network for future dire circumstances. Even if you can’t take in a horse, there are many ways to help—please sign up for the Volunteer Network today!

APNM Supports Effort to Strengthen New Mexico’s
Emergency Planning for Companion Animals
APNM is currently working with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (NMDHSEM) to help develop a comprehensive list of resources for emergency managers around the state to address emergency sheltering and other needs for companion animals during disasters. Once compiled and updated, these emergency resources will also be included in APNM’s Animal Resources Guide.

As we did last year, APNM will report on organizations and local efforts providing transportation and sheltering resources during disaster evacuations.

APNM staff is participating in disaster training, such as the Code 3 Animal Disaster Responder Academy, and bringing New Mexico companion animals to the table at state and national organizational meetings on emergency management and disaster response, including the New Mexico Emergency Management Association and the National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs. Feedback from other states and recent disaster responses will help us better understand the range of effective response needs as well as the opportunities for inter-agency cooperation and coordinated community response to local disasters.  

Get Connected
Bernalillo County utilizes an emergency notification system (reverse 911) to send important messages to residents and businesses within the unincorporated areas of the County with the capability of sending thousands of messages in a very short time, based on the geographic location of an incident. These notifications, which are only sent at the direction of government authorities, include evacuation notices and dangerous situations, such as an environmental hazard or law enforcement investigation in your neighborhood.  

  > Landline phone numbers, both residential or business, are automatically entered into the system for emergency notifications.

  > To receive notifications on a cellular or VoIP phone number, you must register your phone number with Target Notification. Emergency messages will be received even outside of the affected area, so if you change your cellular/VoIP phone number you will need to re-register it.

For other parts of New Mexico:
  > The NM State Forestry Department also has a statewide Wildfire Email Alert Service.
 
> Contact your County Emergency Manager to find out what type of emergency notification system exists in your county or municipality.

Get Involved in Your Community Disaster Response
 
Neighbors and organizations pitch in to transport animals away from danger. Photo.
Contact your County Emergency Manager to learn more about what’s happening in your community to be prepared, and specifically to accommodate residents’ companion animals and livestock. During an emergency incident, communication is critical; establishing strong lines of communication and greater community awareness before disasters happen helps everyone be better prepared during an emergency.

For example, the East Mountain Interagency Fire Protection Association, serving eastern Bernalillo, eastern Sandoval, western Torrance, and southwestern Santa Fe Counties, provides information outreach, education and fire training opportunities to local and cooperating agencies, volunteers, local residents and businesses.

If you’d like to volunteer to help APNM and NMDHSEM in our joint project to complete our Emergency Resource Manual for NM Companion Animals, updating resource information for all NM counties, please fill out a Volunteer Application or contact Sharon Jonas at 505-265-2322, ext. 23.

 

RELATED LINKS:

Governor’s May 16 declaration on NM drought conditions


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Animal Protection of New Mexico, Inc. (APNM)

P.O. Box 11395, Albuquerque, NM 87192
(505) 265-2322 | (505) 265-2488 (fax) | email APNM
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