When a natural or manmade disaster strikes (where you live) and you have pets you will no doubt be interested in this story. In FEMA’s eyes-some animals or pets (to be more precise) are more rescue worthy than others. Let me explain.

In order for emergency responders to get reimbursed from FEMA for rescuing your “pets” from a natural or manmade disaster, you actually have to have what’s classified as a “Pet”. Or they’ll probably not help you by rescuing your animal because they will not get money back from the U.S. government for doing so.

According to FEMA a Pet is-a dog, cat, bird, rodent, or turtle. An animal that is traditionally kept in the home for the enjoyment of its owner. This is a pretty short list, at least I thought so.

What IS NOT a Pet is-a reptile, amphibian, fish, insects (spiders), all farm animals (including horses) and racing type animals.

So, a word to the wise, just know that if a natural catastrophe happens and emergency responders decide not to rescue your pet reptile or fish or horse, you’ll know the reason why.

Fema pets



IMG_2630One of the skill-venues at the Clackamas Co. CERT Summit was Jo Becker Weebly’s animals-in-disaster preparedness tips and resources. Jo Becker taught the class, in case you don’t know, she’s the Guru of all creatures’ great and small. Her specialty is technical animal rescue (not to be confused with finding homes for animals.) She actually gets in there and rescues them. Let’s say a horse, or other animal gets into a potentially fatal situation and emergency responders need help – they call Jo Becker.

She also understands animal behavior, the why’s and how’s of animals doing things, especially when they’re under stress. She is also a volunteer with the Washington State Animal Response Team.

After she gets done explaining about why animals do what they do, she launches into her own version of the Jeopardy quiz show complete with sound effects, applause, cheers, etc. Jo Becker has found that this is one of the ways people can have fun and learn about animals at the same time. You rack up points by answering the questions correctly and for each correct point you get a “tootsie roll” As in life…the person with the most tootsies or empty tootsie wrappers (by that time) wins.IMG_2629

Some of her Jeopardy questions include – Should you feed your animals strange food from a can? What is the best way to contain your pet during an emergency? Will your animals follow you if you leave your home? What should you do if you physically can’t take all of your pets with you during an emergency? And the ever popular…What can you do with panty hose to help save your pets life in a crisis?

IMG_2632As contestants answer these questions, they gain even more knowledge about animals-in-disasters and how they can help them survive.

Tune in tomorrow…as I reveal just what FEMA considers a pet? And how that effects whether or not first responders will help save your animal?


IMG_2625Clackamas County CERT held a summit in Boring, Oregon this past Saturday. It was the first countywide CERT Summit that was open to all County CERT members. The day long event included hands-on training exercises in Search and Rescue, First Aid, and Emergency Kit Building, to name but a few.

As the day progressed, participants went to various skills stations. During their 40 minutes at each venue, they experienced as much as possible about topics that they would need when called upon to use their skills in the event of a natural disaster or medical emergency.

IMG_2627Wherever you live across the U.S. your local CERT or Community Emergency Response Team is always looking for new volunteers to help out in case of a natural disaster or other emergency situation. The training that volunteers receive is invaluable and goes along way toward making you more prepared as a private citizen as well.IMG_2628

Statistics show that CERT volunteers are 3 times more prepared than the average citizen when it comes to dealing with difficult emergency situations, and lets face it…some day one of those difficult emergency situations is going to happen to each and every one of us.

So, if you have been looking for something to do with your spare time that not only helps others, but helps you as well, what better way to spend it than volunteering for CERT training. Plus…you get one of those cool day-glow t-shirts and a nifty pin and a CERTificate to go along with your new found knowledge. Go Get ‘em.


Oregonian Disaster Preparedness Kit Story. 

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 1.21.31 PMWe wish the GO|STAY|KIT would have been mentioned in this story along with all the other disaster prep materials, because it is a proven way to keep your personal information safe and in one place in case of a manmade catastrophe or natural disaster.

This is a very important story by Oregonian reporter Richard Read, it was written in the wake of the New Yorker article, which has generated much controversy about the imminent Pacific Northwest earthquake, due to the Cascadia subduction zone off the coast of Oregon.