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Keep your pets safe too!

Pets are part of the familycat-being-held

For families and professionals who make their living while residing overseas pets are often more than just companions. They are members of your household and close friends during your international adventures. Just like preparing for handling personal emergencies, it is essential to think about pet emergencies and having measures in place for their care. Since veterinary and kenneling services vary widely around the world, most expat pet owners become proficient in basic medical care along with the numerous challenges for transporting a pet internationally.

Shelter in place or evacuate?

As a pet owner, one of the hardest things to face in a crisis is the reality that your pets might not be able to go with you during an evacuation. Be sure to consider what steps you will have to take if you need to leave your pet behind. If you are overseas you might be able to identify local kenneling services or have someone serve as a “pet sitter” for the duration of your evacuation. When you arrive at a new location, take some time to think about who can care for your pet(s) in an emergency.

If you are overseas and need to think about remaining at home during an emergency (i.e., sheltering in place), you had better have a plan to care for your pet and meet all of their basic, and specialized, needs.

Have a Pet Readiness Plan!

A plan to take care of your pet (or pets) doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with the basics:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Comfort
  • Medications
  • Sanitation

Have enough supplies on hand for at least 72 hours. If you have dogs, consider crate training as a way to be prepared for any extended travel or sheltering in one location. For other pets who might not be as comfortable being confined in a carrier (cats, for example), try to find a dedicated, but enclosed, space where the pet can feel safe.

Act Now! You can get started today with some tips from Ready.gov in their Pets Brochure.

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Emergency preparedness in schools overseas

Living overseas offers children the opportunity to immerse themselves in local culture and diversify their learning opportunities. However, the overseas lifestyle also places people in environments where emergency support services that they are accustomed to may be quite different.

For families with children in local or international schools it is important to become familiar with how the schools have planned for and will respond to crisis situations. In most developed countries, local laws and government ensure that schools have emergency procedures in place. For international schools there is often an emergency response plan that is available in both the local language(s) and in English.

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Creating a household inventory

When we think about inventory tracking this is typically associated with businesses that sell products or need to know when their products are delivered. For expatriates traveling for short term or longer term assignments overseas, creating a household inventory should be seen as essential as setting up utilities and stocking your pantry in your new country.

The key difference for household inventory management is that this needs to be done before you depart. The bottom line is that you need to know what you own so you can move effectively (i.e., organize your packing), plan for replacement (if needed) and have adequate insurance for your valuables. [click to continue…]

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Unexpected lessons learned from an earthquake

While looking for updates about current crisis issues, an article about lessons learned from an earthquake popped up. The Worldchanging.com article meticulously lays out some of the key lessons taught by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The main ideas can be applied to overseas locations and can be useful to assist expats who find themselves in foreign locations that face earthquake threats.

  • Preparations often focus on individual preservation and downplay how to help others. This concept is introduced early in the article and is (unsurprisingly) accurate. Most public messages and training materials emphasize what people and their family members need to do in order to be personally prepared for a disaster. It is reasonable to add on to these preparations the logical next step of knowing how to help your neighbor or anyone who happens to be in harm’s way during a disaster event. The expat context for this lesson is to be able to communicate effectively so that you can ask for assistance, or offer it, during a crisis.
  • Collect your thoughts and then use the tools you have on hand. The article points out that the supplies the author had on hand were appropriate for the situation of an earthquake: “a logger’s first aid kit, a flashlight, the new Army bayonet (designed mainly as a tool), a folding shovel, and Vibram-soled boots.” The idea, it seems, is to think about how you can use the materials you put aside for yourself to benefit others who might be in more desperate need of assistance. Taking the time to have an emergency kit in your car, office and home is sound guidance – especially if you have recently relocated overseas and are still getting settled in. Consider the purchase or assembly of your emergency kits as a critical part of your move-in process. [click to continue…]
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Purchasing Emergency Supplies

Once you have a clear idea of what you want (and need) to place in your emergency kit, the next step is to begin assembling your kit. This means purchasing the items you need and doing it on a results-oriented schedule. The following article will outline helpful steps and resources to make it easy for you to get your emergency kit assembled.

Check out the Red Cross checklist as you plan your purchases. When preparing your shopping lists, group specialty food items according to the names of people in your household to ensure their particular dietary needs are addressed.

5 tips for buying emergency food supplies

When buying the edible components of your emergency kit, remember to buy:

  1. Foods that are easy to store (items with a long shelf life or packaging that preserves freshness and are re-sealable)
  2. Foods that don’t require a lot of water to prepare
  3. Items that taste good and meet the dietary needs of people in your household
  4. A manual can opener and disposable utensils
  5. Nonperishable foods for your pets

Foods that come in “convenient” packages and are designed for long-term storage might appear to be a good deal but if they are complicated to prepare or simply taste terrible, you are wasting your money. [click to continue…]

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