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Georgia Department of Agriculture

GVMA - Preparing for Irma

Preparing for Irma

Georgia Veterinarians – GVMA would like to be your resource for preparing for Hurricane Irma – before and after the storm. This email, and a special section on our website, will have all the information you will need.

Before the Hurricane
Have a plan
It is essential that a veterinary practice have a written disaster plan that includes:
1) Emergency relocation of animals
2) Medical record back-up
3) Continuity of operations
4) Security
5) General emergency planning
6) Fire prevention
7) Insurance and legal issues
For a quick guide to help with a plan download the AVMA brochure. For sample forms for preparedness click here. For a detailed emergency management and response manual click here.

Preparedness Tips

  • Medical records should be backed up at an off-site location
  • Turn off all gas and major appliances for fire prevention
  • Have a 24-hour client access list that you can access off-site
  • Ensure weather resistant patient identification
  • Veterinarians in evacuation areas should contact clients and/or take hospitalized patients out.
  • Review your insurance policies, including flood insurance. Be sure you have adequate coverage for your clinic, home, vehicles, farm buildings, and crops. Take pictures of facility before the storm for possible insurance claims.
  • Secure loose objects, clear debris from drainage ditches, protect windows with hurricane shutters or plywood, trim trees and shrubs, and move irreplaceable items to upper floors.
  • Consider purchasing or renting a backup generator.
  • Store water and feed for patients and/or livestock and fuel for vehicles and generators.
  • Move animals and livestock away from areas where they might be electrocuted by downed power lines.
  • Toxic chemicals should be marked clearly and stored in secure areas to prevent them from contaminating flood waters.
Personal Preparedness

  • Create a Ready kit of emergency supplies and keep it in a waterproof container. Include items for elderly or disabled family members and pets, essential documents, and numbers for emergency personnel and important business contacts.
  • Plan your evacuation route. Identify places to go, such as a friend's home in another town or a motel.
Volunteer your boarding facility
In the event of evacuations, veterinary clinics and pet owners may need to find housing for their animals. Please let us know if you are able to house animals in your facility, especially for those clinics along major evacuation routes just outside the coastal evacuation center. Please complete this form and email it to us at or call us at 800-853-1625.

Other Resources
For pet friendly hotels in Georgia click here.
Download preparedness tips for livestock, or production agriculture.
For equine evacuation stables click here.
The Georgia National Fair Grounds is an equine evacuation site.
Animal Interstate Movement Health Requirements for entry into Georgia are temporarily suspended for the transportation of animals from areas expected to be impacted by Hurricane Irma

After the storm
Don’t self-deploy!
While the good intentions are appreciated, a systematic response is essential for effective, efficient progress of response and recovery efforts.  Self-deploying volunteers can actually complicate and add to the work of local emergency management officials.  Please do not enter a disaster-stricken area unless you are part of an organized response team with authorized access.

Volunteer (prepare now though)
The agencies tasked with response and recovery will identify needs for volunteers, and those volunteers will be coordinated through the incident management system.  If you are interested in volunteering time to aid recovery efforts you should register now with the Serve Georgia. They will require their volunteers to take mandatory training (mostly online) prior to deployment.

Keep us posted
If you know of any veterinarians in your area that may need assistance please contact us at or 800-853-1625. Let us know if there is any way we can be of assistance.
After the storm, if you are in an affected area, let us know if you are open for business. Veterinary services are in great need following a hurricane. We will be compiling a list of veterinary clinics open and seeing patients and will provide that info to GEMA/HS as well.

Stay informed through GVMA blog and Facebook
GVMA has created a special section on our website to keep you informed - in an effort not to inundate you with emails on the latest information, we would ask that you check our blog or Facebook pages for the latest information. During events like this GVMA is in constant contact with GEMA/HS, Georgia Department of Agriculture and other organizations. We are your resource for the latest information.

Tips for communicating with clients

The time is now to be communicating with clients on hurricane preparation.

  • Send an email or other communication to those behind on vaccinations to have their pets vaccinated in case of emergency.
  • Make sure your clients have vaccination records handy. They may be needed at evacuation shelters.
  • Get pets chipped! – Pets are often separated from their families because of hurricanes. Make sure they have proper identification.
  • AVMA has an excellent client handout to help your clients prepare – Saving the Whole Family Brochure in English or Spanish
  • Regular website or social media posts before and after the hurricane will let clients know you care. 
Additional Resources
Go to GEMHSA's Ready Georgia website for a very comprehensive hurricane resource, or visit the national
Georgia Department of Agriculture Hurricane Center
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Center
Georgia State of Emergency County Contact
For a guide for flood repair from the Red Cross click here
For power outage information click here or here
Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescuesafe extrication of a live large animals in local emergencies and disaster areas
USDA Disaster Assistance Programs
U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loans
Disaster Assistance from AVMF
PETS Act – addresses the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals following a major disaster or emergency
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