The human-animal bond

Over and over again, the human-animal bond demonstrates its strength during disasters.

How well individuals, groups/families, neighborhoods, and the community reacts to the threats a disaster can make to this bond is an integral part of an area's planning efforts.


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Animals In Disaster

It's fairly obvious that there are a very large number of households in the Puget Sound Region. King County alone is an area of 2,134 square miles with a population of 1.7 million residents. With over 750,000 housing units, of which over a third are multi-family, the conservative estimate is that 450,000 households in the county have at least one pet.

This general housing unit, population, and companion animal profile extends throughout the entire region.

Some sort of disaster that impacts at least one of these households occurs, on average, every day. These can include mudslides, wind damage, localized flooding, fires, hazardous material spills, and a myriad of other situations that can displace people from their homes and/or put a strain on the relationship between all family members including pets.

The Red Cross for King/Kitsap Counties responds to a disaster on average every day.

But the Red Cross is restricted for health and safety reasons from allowing pets into their shelters. They do the best they can to make arrangements with local housing (hotels, motels, etc.) to keep people and their pets together, but ultimately, it is up to individuals, groups/families, neighborhoods, and communities to make sure they are prepared to face and effectively respond to these potentially devastating threats to the human-animal bond.

Neighborhood Emergency Teams

Comprehensive approach to neighborhood disaster preparedness here

It's an unfortunate reality that the regional animal-related response is not in very good shape. To individuals, families, neighborhoods, and communities this means that much needed resources may not be available. All the more reason for a focus on helping prepare households.

Who we are

Tom Carpenter, retired executive, and Jim Brennan, subject matter expert in business continuity and disaster response, have volunteered over 1,500 hours during the last 6 years to the subject of animals in disaster in the Puget Sound Area. They've worked with the Seattle Humane Society on their preparedness capabilities and are now engaging with King County Animal Care & Control for similar purpose.

When they began understanding the Red Cross response profile, they started working to find effective individual, family, neighborhood, and community disaster efforts that included companion animals.

The nature of Federal Way's neighborhood emergency program aligns very well with the approaches that have emerged over the last 15-20 years for effective disaster response and recovery. Their emergency response services are in place. The workshop is a place to explore integrating animals into this planning.

The workshop is for individuals, groups & families, neighborhoods, animal-related businesses, and the city to raise their capabilities to deal with animals and the human-animal bond during disasters.

It makes no difference where the participants are starting from in their preparedness efforts. The intent is to raise the capabilities of everyone, certainly including the presenters and facilitators.

More for animal-related businesses and government agencies

Federal Way Workshop

On October 23, 2008 Federal Way Emergency Management hosted a workshop on animals in disaster.

The objective was to raise the capabilities of individuals, groups/families, neighborhoods, and the community of Federal Way to effectively respond to and recover from disasters that involve companion animals.