The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

December 9, 2013

Ryan Richardson: Pet emergency kit key to preparedness

JOPLIN, Mo. — Since I moved to Joplin more than a year ago, my friends and family have been adamant about preparedness for storms and disaster.

It was a worry that I initially shared, but it has waned as I've adjusted to life here. I've never been one of those people who lives in constant fear of bad situations, but I figure the best thing I can do is be prepared.

I learned this lesson the hard way while living in Springfield during the 2011 snowstorm, affectionately known as "Snowmageddon" or "Icepocalypse," depending on how far north or south of I-44 you were. The town was hit with a solid coating of ice, which Mother Nature saw fit to lay an additional foot of snow on top of. The resulting power outages caused by downed trees and snapped power lines brought the city to its knees and kept us without power for nearly a week.

At the time, my roommate and I had a dog and two cats. That first day was easy: We had enough food for our pets, the temperature had not dropped too much and other than the early darkness, it was like a normal day.

It wasn't until late in the second day that I started to realize how bad of a situation we might be in. The cat litter needed to be changed, and we didn't have enough to refill it. The dog food was low, and I realized I didn't have a backup bag like usual. Our water was no longer working because the electrical pump for our filter was going out.

This wasn't quite like being stranded on the island from "Lost," but it was getting there. Luckily, we had a few friends who were able to escape their homes and pick up some supplies for us. By the third day, we had what we needed to make it through the power outage.

That week got stuck in my head soon after I moved to Joplin. Around Christmas last year, I stocked up on a few emergency items for my dog, Cami. I bought her a mix of dry and wet food, dry shampoo, a case of bottled water and a thick fleece blanket. Every three months, I replace the food to keep it fresh by rotating some of it in with Cami's normal stock. I keep a copy of her shot records in there, too.

This is all in a small box in my cupboard, ready to go at a moment's notice. I also keep a compact version of this in my car, just in case my car breaks down somewhere.

Thankfully, I haven't had a need to get into this emergency kit since I moved here. When the forecast called for snow and ice this week, I made sure the kit was ready. We live in an area of the country where the weather can bring our lives to a crawl. That's why a bit of preparedness can go a long way when bad weather strikes.

Contact Ryan Richardson about this column or other topic suggestions at rrichardson@joplinglobe.com or 417-627-7363.

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