By Erica Radhakrishnan


Buds form on trees ready to explode with blooms of color.  Bulbs burst from the earth to reveal patches of bright, yellow daffodils or purple hyacinths; and birds return with their morning wake-up calls.  All are signs of Mother Earth’s springtime rebirth.  Unfortunately, this magnificent renewal of life can bring unexpected, volatile weather and the need for preparedness. 

This month as you dust off your outside patio and begin to plan your flower beds, take time to create a basic disaster preparedness kit for you and your pets.


There are many online resources available to help you prepare a kit for your family in the event of a disaster.  However, it is important to know that in addition to natural disasters, the Bluegrass Army Depot’s chemical stockpile also poses an unlikely, but unique risk to central Kentucky.  One great resource to consult for disaster awareness, planning, and kit building specific to Lexington is   Check out this website to educate yourself about how you can better plan and prepare to keep your family safe in the event of a disaster.  
To help small animal pet owners, below is a Pet Disaster Kit Checklist containing items to collect and store in an easily accessible location in the event of a disaster.  Disaster preparedness organizations recommend that you keep your pets’ emergency kit near your family emergency kit.  Confirm that it will fit in your vehicle with all of your emergency supplies should you need to evacuate your home.   Periodically rotate the contents of your pet’s emergency preparedness kit for freshness and list its location in your family’s written emergency plan.  Hopefully, you will never need to use your kits.  However, as Petra Nemcova, survivor of the 2004 tsunami said, “we cannot stop natural disasters, but we can arm ourselves with knowledge: so many lives wouldn’t have to be lost if there was enough disaster preparedness”.  This spring, arm yourself with the knowledge and resources to prepare for your family and pets’ well-being should an emergency strike.

Daily Care Items
-Food in a closed/waterproof container to last 10 days for every pet
-Bottled water (about 1 cup/10 pounds daily)
-Manual can opener
-Water and Food Bowls
-An appropriate sized crate or kennel with pad/blanket
-Collar with current identification tags
-Leash and/or harness
-Litter box, scoop, and  litter (For cats)
-Poop bags
-Garbage bags, paper towels, disinfectant
-Medications, 10-day supply (if needed)
Additional Recommendations
-Medical, Vaccination, & Prescription Records
-Current photo of you with your pets for identification/reunification purposes
-Written Feeding, Medical Condition, and Behavior Instructions including weight, known allergies, age, sex, and microchip number
-Pet First Aid Kit and Instruction Booklet
-Grooming brushes and supplies
Special Considerations for Unique Pets
-Bird owners – In addition to items already listed, consider a cage cover, spray bottle to moisten feathers in warmer weather, catch net, and cage liners (newspaper/paper towels)
-Reptile owners – Be sure to have a safe warming device and secure housing container.
​-Small Mammal owners – Remember extra bedding, salt lick/vitamin supplements, a water bottle, and hiding box or tube for your pet to seek refuge.