If you are in an area that is going to flood, you may have been told to evacuate. This could mean gathering up pets and belongings for a few days at the shelter. Preparing for the shelter as well as preparing your home with flooding insurance is a wise thing to do.
Even if you intend to stay at a motel, roads may be blocked or they are filled up, which often happens when a disaster is pending. Staying with friends is another option, but if that is not possible, you have no choice other than to stay in a local shelter provided by the county or city. But how to survive the shelter?
Here are some tips from Neptune Flood, gained from advice and experience.
If you have pets, the first thing to do is to locate a pet-friendly shelter. Be sure that the shelter you choose is open; once you have found the one closest to you, you will need to get ready. Some things you will need include:
- Pet food for 3 days, manual can opener and dish or dry food
- Water and water bowl
- Crate or cat carrier for each pet
- Leash for dogs or litter box, scoop, and litter for cats
- Disposable bags for cleanup
- Pet Medications
- Favorite toys and a blanket
- Proof of up-to-date immunization
Note: Some advocates for pets suggest a two-week supply of food and medication.
Be aware that many shelters do not allow a pet that is not in a crate or carrier. Often a shelter will have a separate room, one for dogs and one for cats; they will be staying in their crate or carrier most of the time. Dogs can be walked outside with a leash. Yes, you can visit with Rover or kitty while staying at the shelter. Those snacks or treats (for your pet) can help reduce the stress of being in a dorm of furry friends.
As a guardian of your fur friend, you must be staying at the shelter as well; no drop-offs. In some shelters, you may be able to have your pet next to you during your stay.
If possible, at least for a cat or small animal, have a carrier that has wheels, as it will save you some effort while waiting in lines to check in or coming from the parking lot.
Here are some basic tips for your stay at the shelter.
- Do not bring jewelry or valuables
- No illegal drugs, firearms or alcohol
- Watch children at all times
- Do not enter restricted areas
- Courtesy rules!
- Report suspicious behavior to nearby police in the shelter
- Keep noise to a minimum
Remember to bring a blanket and padding for under your “bed”. If you do not want to stay in a dorm with many people, see if you can camp in another room or hallway. Here are some tips on what to bring to the shelter:
- Non-perishable food
- Gallons of drinking water
- Child necessities
- Hygiene items
- Change of clothes
- Quiet games
- Valid ID and important papers
- Eyeglasses or spare contacts
- Phone list and cash
Pack light, since this is not a vacation or a cruise ship, just a lifeboat. You will have a small space, possibly 5 feet by 2 feet, that will be your home during the flood.
Staying at a shelter requires courtesy; you may be among people that range from the rich genteel to those without a home. You will be dining with a group in a cafeteria or you can take food back to your “room”; you may even make some new friends. Being open to the experience, and having gratitude for the shelter, is making the best of the situation.
You can bring some food that is non-perishable as well as snacks. Have reading materials and a computer tablet if you have one. Remember to bring your charging cords and phones plus extra batteries for flashlights. Some people even bring beach chairs, as they enjoy sitting and talking to others or just chilling-out, making the best of it.
Flooding insurance will add peace-of-mind in case you ever have to stay at a shelter during a storm or flooding. We at Neptune Flood know that recovery from flooding can take a while; being prepared for floods as well as for a stay at a shelter will make for less stress when an evacuation is necessary.