A group dedicated to planning for emergencies is focusing on having a plan for pets.
The Local Emergency Planning Committee is circulating a survey asking for volunteers interested in helping formulate or being a part of a strategy for dealing with furry family members during a crisis.
The survey, available at the Kenai Peninsula Borough's Office of Emergency Management and on the office's Web site, offers a wide variety of options for people to help with. The options range from being on a planning committee to helping during an emergency and getting everything ready for a disaster.
A four-person group of the LEPC's education committee is charged with getting the ball rolling on a pet plan.
"There's no provision for animals in the borough," said committee member Barb Beeman.
The push for a plan is based not only on animal safety, but on human safety as well, said Marianne Clark, committee member and Soldotna animal control officer.
"People will jeopardize their own lives, their own safety (for pets)," Clark said.
Beeman said the committee also is focusing on pets because they must be dealt with separately from humans in a disaster.
"Red Cross shelters will not allow animals," she said.
Linda Athons, committee member and home economist with the University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Office, said planning for a disaster on the Kenai Peninsula is difficult because so many different things can happen.
"The plan has got to include every type of disaster," Clark added. "Fires, floods, earthquakes, those are the main ones."
The plan will include setting up a temporary shelter for animals similar to the shelters that exist for people.
Athons said the committee also will emphasize individual preparedness for disaster.
"As a volunteer, does this person have a plan so that they will be available?" Athons said.
She said the group hopes to have an animal planning committee in place by the end of May. The tight time line is because it might be needed at any time.
"A disaster is going to happen, it's just a question of when," Beeman said.
Athons said people with anything to offer, whether food and supplies or expertise in dealing with animals, are encouraged to consider helping.
"You can never have too many people helping on this," she said. "Not only are they the people working on the planning, they're also the people helping you during the disaster."
For more information, call the Office of Emergency Management at 262-4910 or visit the online site at www.borough.kenai.ak.us/emergency/LEPC/survey.htm.
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