BRONSON URGES PEOPLE TO MOVE ANIMALS AND CHEMICALS OUT OF HARM’S WAY BEFORE FLOODING OCCURS
TALLAHASSEE — Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson is asking farmers and residents in areas with the potential for flooding to be sure to move pesticides, fertilizers and propane tanks off the ground and safely stored away if they have time to do it without jeopardizing their own safety. Bronson is also urging people to plan for their pets in advance of an evacuation.
Bronson wants to ensure that people return to a safe home environment after an evacuation. He says there is the potential for a home and property to be contaminated if fertilizers or pesticides are flooded. He adds that people should also secure propane tanks if they can do so safely before the water encroaches.
“People who are evacuating may not be thinking about a bag of fertilizer sitting on the garage floor but they need to take steps to minimize any risks to their homes and properties,” Bronson said. “They don’t want to find chemicals or propane tanks floating in their homes or yards when they return.”
Bronson is also reminding people to have a plan for their animals in the event of an evacuation. Bronson’s Division of Animal Industry has contacted dairies, poultry farms and other agricultural entities to assist with livestock protection. The Department has also deployed response personnel to emergency operations centers in Hamilton and Madison counties to evaluate and assist in local animal efforts. The Department is also delivering livestock emergency containment and transportation equipment for use by Hamilton County. The Suwannee County Agricultural Coliseum has been designated as a temporary shelter for livestock and small animals if needed.
But Bronson says families should not leave their small pets behind when they evacuate because the animals can be injured, lost or killed. Owners should check now about available space at local pet boarding facilities or shelters, or contact hotels in their evacuation path to determine if pets are allowed. The Department has information about pet-friendly hotels and shelters on its website at http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/ai (click on “Emergency Management”).
Some other tips for pet owners include:
— Keep identification tags and vaccinations up to date.
— When evacuating, bring proper identification and health papers with you.
— Prepare a pet evacuation kit, including food and water for one week, a manual can opener, medications, medical/vaccination records, a pet carrier, and bedding. If evacuated, properly secure animals when transporting them.
— If you plan to board a pet, make those arrangements in advance.
— Contact hotels and motels along your evacuation route to check policies on accepting pets and keep the list handy.
Bronson says having this information in advance will reduce the potential for problems and ensure that pets are not left behind to fend for themselves.