Don't wait until a hurricane is bearing down on your area to make decisions about:
-- Where you will go if you evacuate. A hotel or a friend or relative on high ground are better choices than public shelters, which should be your last resort. If you must stay at a special-needs shelter, call your local emergency operations center now to register and arrange for evacuation. If your medical condition requires that you be hospitalized during a disaster, your doctor must make those arrangements in advance.
-- Who among out-of-town relatives will be the family information center. Use that person as a clearinghouse for other concerned relatives.
-- Where you will go if you take your pet. Most public shelters will not accept pets. Check ahead of time.
If you do take your pet, store in plastic a photo of you and your pet in case you are separated, as well as vaccination paperwork. Label the items with your name and your pet's name, including a carrier or crate large enough for your pet to move around. Some other important items:
-- ID collar and rabies tag/license and a leash.
-- Enough food and treats for two weeks, and food and water bowls.
-- Medications and care instructions in a waterproof container.
-- Newspapers, cat litter, scoop, plastic trash bags for handling waste.
-- A comfort item such as a favorite toy or blanket.
-- A manual can opener.
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service www.scrippsnews.com)