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Service Dogs
Questions: Disaster Preparedness
Service Dogs
What Service Dogs Do
Is a Service Dog for You
How to Get a Service Dog
The Right Dog
The Right Source
The Right Trainer
The Right Training
Your Goals
Your Resources
Getting Ready for a Service Dog
Equipment
Health Care
When You Get a Service Dog
Working in Public
Homework
Copy this page onto a blank document.  Write in your answers to each question.  You may need some time to research each of these questions before you can answer them.  These answers require more than a simple yes or no.  Carefully answer the questions, describing in detail your Disaster Plan for yourself and your dog in relation to your current home and geographical location for the various types of disasters that could occur. 
 
Again, this is a very complex and detailed exercise which will take some time.  You may want to make a schedule for yourself, working on one or two related questions per week, and marking your schedule on a calendar.  Should you be faced with a disaster, you will be very glad you spent this time. 
 
Participating in this exercise will help prepare you in the event of a disaster.  Doing this exercise is not optional, but necessary, for any person who is responsible for a dog.
 
First, do your research. 
  1. Look at five websites containing stories or information about disasters that have occured in the past in your geographical area.  Which websites did you explore?  List the addresses.  What types of disasters commonly occur in your region?  What types of uncommon disasters have occured in your area in the past?
  2. Find websites for community organizations in your area which participate in disaster relief and/or preparedness.  Which websites did you explore?  What organizations are available in your community to help in the event of disasters, and what services do they provide?  List the physical addresses of these organizations.  List the phone numbers of these organizations.
  3. Ask your local emergency management office if emergency transportation services are available for you and your dog in case of evacuation.  Write down the phone number you would call for emergency transportation in case of evacuation.
  4. Find out who dispatches ambulances to your area.  Contact the dispatchers, and make an appointment to take your dog to meet them.  Ask them about their policy on service dogs.  Prepare a copy of your Emergency Instructions, Medical and Special Needs Information, and Dog Identification Information to place on file at the ambulance companies.  This is particularly important if you have seizure disorders or other conditions where you may become unconscious. 
  5. For each type of disaster that could occur in your area, create a detailed personal Disaster Plan, listing the steps, in order, that you will need to do to take care of yourself and your dog.  Include a detailed floor plan of your home, indicating primary escape routes.  Indicate on the floor plan of your home the locations of smoke detectors.  Include a schedule for regularly testing smoke detectors, recording dates of testing and battery replacement, updating this as needed.
  6. Locate emergency shelters nearest to your house.  Identify safe places to go specifically in case of fire, earthquake, tornado, hurricane, flood, or domestic abuse.  Write down the address, phone number, and directions to each of these shelters. 
  7. Locate the two nearest hospitals from your house.  Write down the addresses, phone numbers, and directions to these hospitals.  Contact the management of these hospitals, and make an appointment to take your dog to meet them.  Ask them about their policy on service dogs.  Prepare a copy of your Emergency Instructions, Medical and Special Needs Information, and Dog Identification Information to place on file at these hospitals.   
  8. Locate the nearest emergency veterinary clinic from your house.  Write down the address, phone number and directions to this clinic.  Contact the management of this clinic, and make an appointment to take your dog to meet them.  Prepare a copy of your Emergency Instructions and Dog Identification Information to place on file at this clinic.
  9. Locate the nearest reputable dog boarding facility to your house.  Write down the address, phone number and directions to this boarding facility.  Contact the management of this facility, and make an appointment to take your dog to meet them.  Prepare a copy of your Emergency Instructions and Dog Identification Information to place on file at this facility.
  10. Locate three pay phones close to your home.  Include a roll of quarters in your Disaster Supply Kit for emergency phone calls.
  11. Obtain a local map of your area and familiarize yourself with major transportation routes.  Mark the map with locations of your house, the nearest emergency shelters, the nearest hospitals, the three nearest pay telephones, and the nearest emergency veterinary clinic. 
  12. Locate at least three people in your immediate neighborhood who are willing to check in on you, if possible, in case of a disaster.  Make sure that they know what help you may need in an emergency, and how best to assist you.  Give each of them a copy of your personal Disaster Plans for various types of emergencies.  Include a copy of your Emergency Instructions and Dog Identification Information.  List the people you talked with, and summarize what plans were discussed.  Plan a signal with all persons in your support network that indicates that you are okay and have left the disaster site.  For example, a particular color of surveyor's tape on the doorknobs of your house.   
  13. List other people who can act as a personal support network for you in the event of a disaster.  In what way would each of these people be able to help you?
  14. Arrange and practice, with your support network, a fire drill, tornado drill, and earthquake drill for yourself and your dog.  Practice various alternative methods of evacuation for both yourself and your dog.  Purchase and have installed an emergency escape ladder if you have upper story windows. 
  15. It is very important for the dog to know these people and how they will behave in various emergency situations.  Have these people practice putting your dog in her or his crate and carrying her or him.  Have these people practice loading and unloading your dog into various vehicles.  Have these people practice carrying your dog on a blanket used as a stretcher.  Have these people practice carrying your dog in their arms.  Your dog needs to be familiar with all of these possibilities.  In the event of an emergency you cannot risk having your dog refuse to cooperate.
  16. Take the people in your support network to the locations of the cutoff valves for the gas, water, and electricity in your home.  Make a list of situations when it would be appropriate to turn off the utilities, and discuss this with the people in your support network.  Purchase and attach a wrench next to each utility cutoff valve, so that it will be there if needed.
  17. Complete a personal assessment of your needs and your resources for meeting your needs in a changed disaster environment.  Make a list of your personal needs in a disaster survival situation  for yourself and your dog.  Make a list of resources you can use to help meet these needs in a disaster environment. 
  18. Establish an out-of-town contact to call in case of emergency.  Include this person's name and phone number in your Emergency Instructions
  19. Locate an out-of-town friend or relative you can stay with if your city or town is evacuated.  Include this person's name and phone number in your Emergency Instructions.  Send this person copies of your Emergency Instructions, Medical and Special Needs InformationPrescriptions, and Dog Identification Information. 
  20. Review your insurance coverages for the disasters that may occur in your area.  Arrange for additional coverage, if necessary.  Purchase a blank video tape and use a video camera to document the appearance and contents of your home for insurance purposes.  Make a copy of the videotape and send to an out-of-town friend or family member.
  21. Locate important paperwork and documents, make photocopies, and store safely in two different place.  List the locations of valuables, such as: jewelery, coin or stamp collections, cameras, family photographs and other items that you would want to remove from your house in the event of a disaster, if possible. 
  22. Ask questions of people in on-line discussion groups about about their experiences with preparedness and disasters.   What are three questions you asked, and what answers did you receive?

Then, answer these questions:

1.  What do you think your level of preparedness for dealing with a disaster was before you started participating in this exercise?
 
2.  What do you think your current level of preparedness for dealing with a disaster is?
 
3.  How do you feel about your physical, psychological and financial ability to evacuate yourself and your dog to a safe location in the event of a disaster?
 
4.  Discuss how your feel about your ability to respond appropriately in the event of a disaster and properly care for yourself and your dog?
 
5.  In what ways has this exercise helped to prepare you for the possibility of a disaster?
 
6.  What other questions have occured to you about preparing for a disaster?

Now, you are ready to use the information you have obtained to organize the paperwork and resources you will need to be prepared in case of a disaster.

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Education and Support for People and Service Dogs