Preparedness Corner
April 2003
By Paul Vircsik

Hi Neighbors,

“FIRE, I MEAN SNOW, GET OUT”.  Could you?  Can you?  “Where did I leave that %$&*# shovel”.  Well, as we all know and having read Mary Jo’s article, the ranch got dumped on.  So the question still holds.  Could you get out of your home and get to help in the snow.  If not, maybe you should think about how you would (you can use many of the same ideas for other emergencies) and prepare.  What would happen if the ESC held a mock evacuation last week?  What, you mean evacuate the ranch under snow conditions?  But, there’s 6 feet of snow on the ground.  Oh, I get it, in case on of those big trucks loses its load on the highway and the poisonous gas cloud comes this way.  But in the snow?  I just cleaned the car.  What about your neighbor’s chimney fire.  Zero clearance, installed wrong will take on a whole new meaning.  How is that fire engine ever going to get your house?  NO engine carries that much hose.  Familiarize yourself with all the types of disasters that can occur in your area and develop a plan of action to deal with each type. As you heard the south end got much more snow than the northern end.  This time.  And be flexible, no plan is set in stone but having the principles down will get you going.  You won’t be a deer in the headlights while the predicament dances around you.  Oh what a feeling.  No, sorry that’s a car commercial.  How about, oh what a vision.

Change of subject.  Lets talk pets.  Love ‘em.  Mine is my kidlet.  I am going to make damn sure that mine is ready for the worst.  When I move onto the ranch, and that will be in the summer of 2000 and not soon enough, I will get a puppy.  I will have the new member of my family clipped, dipped and chipped.  Yes chipped, or ID tags, tattooed, etc.  ‘Cause when the first thunder bumpers of summer come, I don’t want to lose him to an open door.  Of course the bears will need to know how to read the tag.  I will keep current records of his health, meds, special feeding instructions, and his vet’s name and number in the same place I keep my important stuff.  In the files that can be hurriedly moved into the car.

He will get a new carrier/kennel that will become the “toy box”.  This will make him familiar with it and like it, so putting him in it when the preverbal pooh hits the fan won’t become $10,000 on Funniest Home Videos.

A new box of some kind will be reserved for a supply of at least 3 days with:

You can purchase a prepared pet emergency kit from CVMA 916-649-0599 in California (  But try your local vet.  There should be a CVMA for Colorado.  You can also call 1-800-655-2862 for instructions for pet emergencies.

After any disaster my little buddy will not be left outside unattended in unfamiliar territory.  Animals freak just like people who don’t speak human and can’t understand why their world just got turned upside down.  Recognizable scents and landmarks may be altered so he could become confused.  Especially if the place where he is now is wet.  I also won’t let him be with other unknown animals that may become territorial for self-preservation due to the disaster.  If we find an animal that seems lost, I will let the lost soul come to me, use extreme caution and try to ID.  Not the kind, the name and owner.  Sheesh.  I’ll try to protect it in place, isolate it from my guy (injury, disease, freaked), and notify CVMA, a vet, or the proper authority for the area.  Most disaster Incident Commands call for some sort of animal rescue unit to handle the evacuation of animals and keep them in a recovery area for the owners to pick up.  Don’t do nothing.  Put your own little buddy in his place and use the golden rule.

If you do lose your pet in a disaster be prepared to show some sort of ID to prove ownership when you go to claim your pet.  Those sad little booboo eyes will glare back at you if have to go get the records. When you get them back love them up good because they don’t understand why they wound up in the shelter.  I will now jump off the soapbox and go play with the cat.  She needs me.

See you all soon,

Meet the author: Read about Paul Vircsik's background