Disasters don't have only a human cost. Animals also are affected.
Brett Reid, animal control officer at the Kenai Animal Control Shelter, said most people forget provisions for their pets when preparing the family for an emergency.
"The punch line is: everything you need for that pet for three days should be ready to go at a moment's notice so you can worry about your family," Reid said.
Reid recommends keeping the supplies stored in the pet's carrier next to the family's disaster kit.
He also warns that animals will probably be skittish during an emergency.
"You do want to be cautious," said Reid. "They may not behave normally if they're in a stressful situation."
Even if everything is ready to evacuate pets, most emergency shelters, for safety, health and space concerns, do not allow animals.
Linda Athons, a cooperative extension agent with the University of Alaska Fairbanks cooperative extension office in Soldotna, is working with other concerned citizens to develop a list of potential emergency animal shelters.
"You can't really predict where a shelter is going to be, because you don't know where a disaster will be," Athons said.
The group's hope is to establish a place for animals near where their people will be staying.
"People will be concerned about their animals because they are members of the family," she said.
She added that attendants at human shelters will be able to tell people with pets where animals will be taken care of.
Athons said the most important thing to remember, though, is preparation.
"(My) hope is that they'll prepare for themselves and their pets at the same time," she said. "My biggest concern is having a plan, especially for large animals."
If pet owners have questions about preparing or caring for domestic animals in a disaster, Athons suggested calling a local animal shelter. In Kenai call 283-7353; Soldotna, 262-3969; Seward, 224-7495; Homer, 235-3141.
For questions regarding larger animals, including livestock, call the nearest cooperative extension office -- most likely in Soldotna at 262-5284.
PEPPA can also provide more information. The organization is based in Anchorage and can be reached at (907) 696-1300.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.