What should I do in the event of a disaster such as a tornado?
The following information may help you save your pet's life during a disaster like the recent tornados we had here in Kansas City.  Even we here at Burge Bird Services found ourselves somewhat unprepared when the sirens went off.  However, we have almost 100 birds and could never get them all moved out of the house without hours of notice.  Whether you have just a single pet or a flock, this list could be extremely helpful in preventing a tragedy.  United Animal Nations at www.UAN.org has free brochures with these tips and much more, including precautions for other species of pets.

1. Make up a disaster kit that contains the following items:
*A two week supply of food and water in air and watertight containers (exchange for a fresh supply every two months)
*First aid supplies such as blood stopping powder and bandage materials
*At least a one week supply of any medication your pet is taking
*Identification such as the bird's band number written down on a waterproof label and photos to help you locate it and prove ownership should you become separated
*A towel for handling the bird should it become frightened and unmanageable, which can also be used to cover the cage to protect the bird from the cold or wind
*A flashlight and spare batteries to provide light for your bird so it can see to eat and drink if the power is out
*Place all of these items inside a bag or box along with a carrier or travel cage and store it somewhere near the bird's cage
*In the event of a disaster, you can quickly load the bird into the carrier and have all the needed supplies ready to go

2. Have a neighbor, friend or relative who lives nearby who can check on your animals if you aren't home when a disaster strikes.  They should have a key to your home, know where the disaster kit is located, know how to contact your veterinarian, and have a permission slip to treat your animal as needed if you can't be reached.

3. Keep your bird's wings clipped to prevent escape while you are trying to move it to safety.

4. If you have a large number of animals like we do and cannot remove them all from the premises, you could do what we planned while listening to the tornado reports:
*Leave birds in their cages if possible as the metal cage bars may offer them some protection from injury and escape, rather than having them out loose
*Move the cages to the safest place in the house, such as a hallway or into closets and shut the doors if you don't have a basement
*Cover the cages with blankets or tarps, tucking the edges underneath the cages, to help provide some protection from broken glass or flying debris
*Put birds into carriers if their cages cannot be moved and place the carriers into safer areas

5. In the event of a prolonged power outage like we experienced during last year's ice storm, finding a place to keep your birds where there is heat and light becomes vital.  Our office was without power for 5 days, and the phone lines were down for 10 days.  The phone company was extremely inefficient and uncooperative about rerouting calls to our office onto a cell phone, so many of you who may have tried to call us for help were unable to get thru.  You may have to call many different veterinary hospitals, pet stores, friends, and relatives, before finding a safe place to keep your bird if there has been widespread damage.

Burge Bird Services
Julie Burge, DVM
13833 S. 71 Hwy
Grandview, MO 64030
(816) 356-4700