With the haze from western wildfires so thick here in Boulder this week (we can't even see the Rocky Mountains) and cleanup in Texas and LA after Hurricane Harvey—it's hard not to think of disaster preparedness for your pet care business. Today's news reveals that natural disasters can happen pretty much anywhere, so it pays to make plans regardless of your geography.
IBPSA and Ben Day, a business safety consultant published a blog two years ago outlining some important points regarding weather emergency preparations for pet care facilities.
First, "Designate Your Emergency Leaders and Locations."
Designate a team member responsible for monitoring weather updates to communicate to the rest of the staff.
Clearly identify to the staff the person with the authority to begin an evacuation so there is no question who is in charge.
Before disaster hits, you should have identified an alternative location to take your animals if your building is destroyed or rendered temporarily unusable.
Second, prepare your facility for weather-related emergencies.
If you are in the north, ensure you have functioning generators and heaters.
If you are in warm climates, ensure your backup generators work, and that you have fans and cooling devices that will function off these generators. Test these items and systems quarterly to ensure they are running and have fuel.
Other key items:
At least fives days of backup water and food for your typical occupancy of pets
Food and water for your staff
Third, "Organize your “Survival Gear” for an evacuation.
What will you need to evacuate a pet care facility? Start with:
Owner contact information
Medical records (if you are heading to another kennel facility).
The IBPSA blog continues with this advice: "Make sure your owner contact information and related pet client records are always kept in a safe, off-premises location either by storing in the cloud or by backup to a separate drive kept at a separate location.
As cloud-based pet care software providers, we add this: Set up a WiFi hotspot device so you can access the internet even when the local internet goes down. You'll still need power, so ensure your generator is working. Additionally, practice using a WiFi hotspot off of your phone.
Ensure the safety of your staff and human guests is as important as that of your pet-guests.
Additionally, check out the Humane Society's article on Disaster Planning for Animal Care Facilities.