Tuesday, April 25, 2017

98 ways to thank and support your volunteers

Here are 98 different ways to thank and support your volunteers.
  1. Create a climate in which volunteers can feel motivated
  2. Say ‘thank you’ often, and mean it
  3. Match the volunteer’s desires with the organization’s needs
  4. Send birthday cards. Send a card at Christmas  
  5. Provide a clear role description for every volunteer
  6. Make sure new volunteers are welcomed warmly
  7. Highlight the impact that the volunteer contribution is having on the organization
  8. Show an interest in volunteers’ personal interests and their outside life
  9. Tell volunteers they have done a good job
  10. Give volunteers a real voice within the organization
  11. Set up a volunteer support group
  12. Provide meaningful and enjoyable work.
  13. Always have work for your volunteers to do and never waste their time
  14. Send ‘thank you’ notes and letters when appropriate
  15. Smile when you see them!
  16. Say something positive about their personal qualities
  17. Involve volunteers in decision-making processes
  18. Give a certificate to commemorate anniversaries of involvement
  19. Develop a volunteer policy
  20. Allow volunteers the opportunity to debrief, especially if they work in stressful situations
  21. Let volunteers put their names to something they have helped to produce or to make happen
  22. Differentiate clearly between the roles of paid staff, trainees and volunteers
  23. Have a volunteer comments box and consider any suggestions carefully
  24. Make sure the volunteer coordinator is easily accessible and has an ‘open door’ policy
  25. Provide insurance cover
  26. Supervise volunteers’ work
  27. Have a vision for volunteer involvement in your organization
  28. Do not impose new policies and procedures without volunteers’ inputs
  29. Ask volunteers themselves how the organization can show it cares
  30. Permit volunteers to attend seminars, conferences and workshops from time to time
  31. Give volunteers a proper induction
  32. Celebrate the year’s work together
  33. Offer to write volunteers letters of reference
  34. Accept that different volunteers are able to offer different levels of involvement
  35. Accept that an individual volunteer’s ability to commit may change over time
  36. Ask volunteers’ opinions when developing new policies and strategies
  37. Make sure the director (especially in large organizations) shows her/his personal appreciation of the volunteers’ work
  38. Pass on any positive comments about volunteers from clients to the volunteers themselves
  39. Provide the opportunity for ‘leave of absence’
  40. Add volunteers to memo and e-mail distribution lists
  41. Set solid goals for volunteers and keep communicating them
  42. Provide car or bike parking for volunteers
  43. Give the volunteer a title which reflects the work they do (not just ‘volunteer’)
  44. Consider providing, or paying for, child care for volunteers who are parents
  45. Inform the local press about the excellent work of your volunteers
  46. Undertake individual supervision and support sessions
  47. Always be courteous
  48. Maintain regular contact with volunteers, even if they work ‘off-site’ or at odd hours
  49. Allow volunteers to ‘get out’ without feeling guilty
  50. Keep volunteers informed of changes in structure and personnel
  51. Provide adequate clothing and name badges if appropriate
  52. Use quotes from volunteers in leaflets and annual reports
  53. Devote resources (time and money) to volunteer support
  54. Count up how many hours volunteers contribute and publicise this
  55. Ensure all paid staff and trainees know how to work effectively with volunteers
  56. Provide accredited training
  57. Hang a volunteer photo board in a prominent position
  58. Give volunteers the opportunity to evaluate their own performance and role
  59. Do not overwhelm volunteers
  60. Build volunteers’ self-esteem by giving them a sense of ownership of their work
  61. Always be appreciative of volunteers’ contributions
  62. Ensure volunteers have adequate space and equipment to do their work
  63. Provide excellent training and coaching
  64. Recognize that volunteers play a unique role
  65. Have an annual volunteer award ceremony
  66. Focus on the problem, if there is one, not the personality of the volunteer
  67. Create two-way communication processes
  68. Have occasional lunches, dinners, barbecues, picnics, etc
  69. Create a volunteer notice board
  70. Set up a volunteers forum
  71. Allow volunteers to get involved in solving problems
  72. Pay for an eye test if they sit in front of a computer all day
  73. Review the progress of volunteers on a regular basis
  74. Reimburse out-of-pocket expenses
  75. Conduct an exit interview when a volunteer leaves
  76. Have a ‘volunteer voice’ section in your newsletter
  77. Be honest at all times
  78. Provide constructive appraisal
  79. Make volunteers feel good about themselves
  80. Don’t treat volunteers as ‘second class citizens’
  81. Ensure confidentiality for your volunteers
  82. Present an occasional inexpensive gift
  83. Provide volunteers with a ‘rights and responsibilities’ charter
  84. Don’t bully them into doing tasks which they have made clear they don’t want to do
  85. Give free membership to your organization
  86. Ensure you have adequate support skills yourself
  87. Ask why volunteers are leaving or have left
  88. Throw a volunteers party
  89. Use surveys as a way of eliciting your volunteers’ views
  90. Provide free refreshments during coffee and tea breaks
  91. Celebrate United Nations International Volunteer Day (5 December each year)
  92. Suggest sources of help and support for personal problems
  93. Allow volunteers to air legitimate grievances and make sure they are dealt with swiftly
  94. Send a card or flowers if volunteers are ill or bereaved
  95. Encourage them to sit on committees and attend meetings
  96. Ensure a safe and healthy working environment
  97. Allow volunteers to take on more challenging responsibilities
  98. Make sure that every volunteer has equal access to support

For additional details on volunteer recognition, contact the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley at (319) 272-2087, information@vccv.org, or visit www.vccv.org.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Mayors’ Volunteer and Top Teen Awards 2017

The 39th Annual Mayors’ Volunteer Awards and 19th Annual Mayors’ Top Teen Awards and Mother Moon Service Scholarships were presented by the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley on Tuesday, April 11 at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

The Mayors’ Volunteer Awards program, which recognizes outstanding volunteers in the Cedar Valley, included a luncheon with 130 attendees. Award categories this year included the Volunteer Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding volunteers regardless of age or years of service. The Outstanding Emerging Volunteer Award, which was open to those age 19-35. And the Lifetime Achievement Award that was open to any nominee with 20+ years of volunteerism in the Cedar Valley. Award criteria included demonstrating excellence in volunteerism in the Cedar Valley and a commitment to serving the community.

23 nominees received certificates from Mayor Jim Brown (Cedar Falls), Mayor Doug Faas (Evansdale), and Mayor Quentin Hart (Waterloo) and the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber Ambassadors.

The 2017 nominees were: Diane Alcott, nominated by West Waterloo High School; Susan Card, nominated by Western Home Communities; Paula Czarnetski, nominated by Cedar Valley Hospice; Rita Durchenwald, nominated by Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare; Sharon Fasse, nominated by Lifeserve Blood Center; Genna Flaherty, nominated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa; Pam Flanders, nominated by Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging; Mary Lou Garms, nominated by Allen Hospital; Jackie Glassel, nominated by  Salvation Army; Robert Green, nominated by Jeffery Dow; Gene Haack, nominated by Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging; Sydney Neuzil, nominated by Department of Human Services, Gabriela Petry, nominated by Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare; Bill Quibell, nominated by Michelle Temeyer; Roger Reiter, nominated by ISU Extension and Outreach Black Hawk County; Berenis Sanchez, nominated by Allen Hospital; Steve Schmitt, nominated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa; Reggie Schmitt, nominated by Northeast Iowa Food Bank; Gary Steen, nominated by Department of Human Services; Gene Theis, nominated by Cedar Falls Tourism & Visitor Bureau and Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity; Patty Tometich, nominated by Care Initiatives Hospice; Ernie Wenger, nominated by West High School; Rachelle Yousefi, nominated by PET PALS.  

Congratulations to the 2017 Mayors' Volunteer Award Winners!
Bill Quibell, nominated by Michelle Temeyer
Susan Card, nominated by Western Home Communities
Rob Green, nominated by Jeff Dow
Gene Theis, nominated by Cedar Falls Visitor Center and Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity 
Reggie Schmitt, nominated by Northeast Iowa Food Bank
Rita Durchenwald, nominated by Wheaton Iowa/Franciscan Healthcare
Genna Flaherty, nominated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa
Gabriela Petry, nominated by Wheaton Iowa/Franciscan Healthcare
Berenis Sanchez, nominated UnityPoint Health - Waterloo/Allen Hospital
Ernie Wenger, nominated by West Waterloo High School
Mary Lou Garms, nominated by UnityPoint Health - Waterloo/Allen Hospital
Gene Haack, nominated by Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging


The Mayors’ Top Teen Awards and Mother Moon Service Scholarships were presented by the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley on Tuesday evening. The awards program, which recognizes outstanding youth volunteers in the Cedar Valley, included an evening reception for teens, their parents and friends. Award criteria included demonstrating excellence in volunteerism in the Cedar Valley and a setting a good example as a role model for others. Teens ages 13-18 are eligible for the award.

25 nominees received certificates from Mayors Jim Brown (Cedar Falls), Mayor Doug Faas (Evansdale), and Mayor Quentin Hart (Waterloo). In addition, the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa awarded Mother Moon Service Scholarships to eight students.

Sponsors of the event included the cities of Cedar Falls, Dunkerton, Evansdale, Gilbertville, Hudson, La Porte City, Raymond, and Waterloo; Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa; R.J. McElroy Trust; and Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley.


This year’s honorees are as follows:
Top Row, Left to Right:
Dalton Burch, Jack Schaefer, Dawson Ellingson, Joshua Borwik, Ryan Gilstrap, Riley Henry, Faith Magee

Middle Row, Left to Right:
Saima Perveen, Kacey Fettkether, Brianna Zoll, Grace Jorgensen, Katelyn Pint, Emma Yoder, Anna Hepworth

Front Row, Left to Right:
Ardis White, Hana Malik, Haley Clark, Tyler Hayes, Abby Laures, Wesley Hanson, Hunter Peterson, Maria Geisler

Not pictured:
Aastha Chandra, Zach Nie, Caroline Strauel

Thanks to all our nominees for their commitment to volunteering!


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Global Youth Service Day, April 21 - 23

The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley and Youth Action Council will lead young people on Global Youth Service Day, an annual campaign that celebrates and mobilizes the millions of children and youth who improve their communities each day of the year through service and service-learning. Established in 1988, Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is the largest service event in the world, and the only day of service dedicated to youth. This year GYSD will be on April 21 - 23.

Many communities use Global Youth Service Day as a component of youth service. “Needs in our community are particularly great right now. Addressing the challenge of mobilizing youth and resources to solve community problems will take a sustained effort, and we hope many who are serving on April 21 - 23 will make an ongoing commitment to serve throughout the year,” said Jean Seeland, Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley Youth Program Coordinator.

Each year, millions of youth around the world work together with schools, youth organizations, nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations, volunteer and national service programs, government agencies, faith communities, and other individuals to address critical issues and change their communities on Global Youth Service Day.

Global Youth Service Day is held during National Volunteer Week, April 21 – 23. Through programs such as this, youth volunteers are recognized for the tremendous impact they are making on our country's most critical challenges year-round. 

Locally, Global Youth Service Day will be celebrated on April 21. Students are invited to participate from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 505 Franklin, Waterloo. Participants, from kindergarten through 5th grade, will complete projects that will be donated to community agencies. In addition, middle and high school age students from the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley’s Youth Action Council will meet at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank to volunteer from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley works to promote and support effective volunteerism and to serve as the resource and coordination center for volunteers and community partnerships.

Please contact Jean Seeland at the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley to express interest in participating or to secure additional opportunities by calling 319-272-2087 or emailing jean_seeland@vccv.org. Volunteer opportunities may also be accessed at www.vccv.org.






Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April – A Month of Volunteerism and Recognition

Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week has grown exponentially each year, drawing the support and endorsement of all subsequent U.S. presidents, governors, mayors and other respected elected officials.

Service Unites, presents an opportunity for individuals, families, nonprofit organizations, businesses and government entities alike to celebrate the ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things through service.

Volunteerism has become an integral part of society, effecting youth and adult volunteers, nonprofits and businesses at large. April has become the month for volunteer recognition with the nominations of the Governor’s Volunteer Awards, Mayors Day of Recognition of National Service, National Volunteer Week, and Global Youth Service Day. Additionally, volunteerism will be celebrated locally at the Mayors’ Volunteer and Top Teen Awards. The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley is the lead agency for these April events. 

To spotlight the impact of national service and thank those who serve, mayors and county officials will participate in the fourth annual Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service on April 4, 2017.

Coordinated by Volunteer Iowa, the Governor’s Volunteer Award program provides an easy, low-cost way for Iowa nonprofits, charitable organizations, and government entities to honor their volunteers with a prestigious, state-level recognition award. Nominations are due April 10 and Awards are presented during recognition ceremonies held each summer at several locations around the state, including Cedar Falls.

Locally, the Mayors’ Volunteer Awards honor the exemplary contributions of individuals ages 19 and older who dedicate their time and talent to volunteerism in Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Evansdale and surrounding communities in Black Hawk County.

The Mayors’ Top Teen Awards honor youth ages 13-18 attending a school in Black Hawk County. The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa also selects one junior from each of the accredited high schools in Black Hawk County to receive the $1000 Mother Moon Service Scholarship.

This year, the Mayors’ Volunteer and Top Teen Award recipients will be recognized at special events on April 11 at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. The awards program is sponsored by the cities of Cedar Falls, Evansdale and Waterloo, the Greater Cedar Valley Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, the RJ McElroy Trust and the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley.

National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.

This year National Volunteer Week’s theme, Celebrate Service, presents an opportunity for individuals, families, nonprofit organizations and government entities alike to celebrate the ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things through service April 23 – 29.

Each year, millions of youth around the world work together with schools, youth organizations, nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations, volunteer and national service programs, government agencies, faith communities, and other individuals to address critical issues and change their communities on Global Youth Service Day.

Global Youth Service Day is held during National Volunteer Week, April 21 – 23. Through programs such as this, youth volunteers are recognized for the tremendous impact they are making on our country's most critical challenges year-round.

Locally, Global Youth Service Day will be celebrated on April 21. Students are invited to participate from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 505 Franklin, Waterloo. Participants, from kindergarten through 5th grade, will complete projects that will be donated to community agencies. In the afternoon, middle and high school age students from the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley’s Youth Action Council will meet at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank to volunteer.

The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley works to promote and support effective volunteerism and to serve as the resource and coordination center for volunteers and community partnerships. To secure volunteer opportunities, call the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley at 319-272-2087, Volunteer opportunities may also be accessed at www.vccv.org.
 



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

10 Disaster Preparedness Tips You Can Really Use

1. Know what you’ll face

Part of preparation is knowing exactly what kind of disasters you might face and knowing what to do in each situation. Living in Montana? You probably don’t need to worry about hurricanes. California? Better be ready for an earthquake, but don’t overlook your chances of severe weather or pandemic flu. If you can’t think of all the possibilities, here’s a handy list from the Red Cross. If you think you live in a disaster-free zone, you’re probably wrong.

2. Learn your area’s evacuation routes and shelter locations

The time to figure these things out isn’t while a hurricane is bearing down on your home, or after a tsunami warning has been issued. Evacuations are actually pretty common, so it will serve you well to know the details ahead of time. You should also know the escape routes from your own home, including the more obscure ones, like out that ground-level window in your bathroom. If you have kids, draw them a map and post it near their door. You should also plan where your family will regroup if you must evacuate your house. Pick one location right outside your home, and one outside the neighborhood, in case you must leave the area. Decide ahead of time where you would go in case of an evacuation, whether it's a friend’s or relative’s house or a Red Cross shelter.

3. Know how you’ll reconnect with people who matter

If cell networks aren’t working, you don’t just need to worry about how your Netflix stream will be affected. Consider how you will contact your family or your roommates. How will you let others know you are alright? Figuring this out ahead of time can make everything so much easier in a difficult situation. The Red Cross recommends using an out-of-area emergency contact to have family members check in with, since it may be easier to make long distance calls. Everyone should also have a list of emergency contacts and local emergency numbers.

4. Sign up for emergency alerts and know how officials will communicate with you during a disaster

You can get these on your cell phone, if you haven’t disabled them already. We know the blaring noise overtaking the silent mode on your phone can be annoying, but this is probably the best way to learn about emergencies if you are constantly attached to your phone. The emergency alert system also broadcasts over the radio and television, and NOAA weather radio can tell you if severe weather is expected 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tune in on social media as well, but don’t expect to rely on it exclusively as you may not keep your Internet connection in an emergency.


5. Learn what to do if you’re caught away from home


Obviously you may not be at home when disaster strikes. In the case of an unexpected emergency, you should be prepared to react from different locations, including your workplace or car. Most of this is pretty basic stuff — again, know your evacuation routes, communication plan and how you’ll receive emergency notification. Have a plan for reconnecting with kids who may be at school, daycare or after-school activities. Talk to schools to see how they will communicate with families in an emergency, if they have a shelter-in-place plan and where they will go if they are forced to evacuate.


6. Have a kit and know how to use it


Ok, we’re not talking full-on doomsday status here. We’re talking about some basic necessities. This includes food, water, basic first aid supplies and other emergency equipment that you might already have (think flashlights and duct tape). Check out this full list from FEMA for tips (http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/90354). The key is to have this assembled and ready to use, not scattered all over your house. Make sure everything is in working order and that no one sneaks snacks from your finished kit. Some kits are available for purchase pre-packed, but remember, if you don’t know how to use what you have, it could be useless.


7. Keep in mind people who may need special preparation


Kids, infants, people with disabilities and seniors may all need special considerations while planning for an emergency. If you or a family member need medication or special equipment, make sure you have a plan to bring it with you. Talk to your neighbors about how you can help one another in a disaster, and check on each other in case of an emergency.


8. Prepare for your pets


The goal of emergency preparedness is to keep the whole family safe — and that includes our pets. If you need to evacuate, you should never leave your pet behind. Try to evacuate to a friend or family member’s house, as pets may not be allowed in public shelters. Keep a pet emergency kit on hand with food and other important items. The ASPCA recommends microchipping pets so they can be identified and returned to you even without tags (or you may want to invest in a GPS tracker so you can find them yourself). The ASPCA app also helps you keep track of animal records required to board pets at an emergency shelter and has other helpful tips for a variety of situations.


9. Learn emergency skills that can always come in handy


Make sure you know little things that can make a huge difference, like how to use a fire extinguisher or perform basic first aid. Get trained in CPR or the even simpler hands-only CPR, which could help save someone’s life even when you least expect it. You can also learn how to shut off utilities in your house in case of a disaster that may damage gas, water or electrical lines.


10. Find out how to help your community during a disaster


Want to help out even more? Learn how you can be a community leader during a disaster or teach others how to be prepared. Volunteer positions with local emergency response agencies or nonprofits are available in a huge range of capacities. The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley has been integral in coordinating disaster services in the past. To learn more about disaster readiness and volunteering, contact the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley at (319) 272-2087, information@vccv.org, or visit www.vccv.org.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Black Hawk County Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD)

The Black Hawk County Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) serves the entirety of Black Hawk County by providing a place to bring together voluntary agencies, businesses, and governmental agencies to foster a more effective preparedness, response and recovery to the people of Black Hawk County including the municipalities, as needed, in time of disaster through:
  •       Cooperation: creating a climate of cooperation, information sharing, and meeting together.
  •       Coordination: encouraging common understanding and providing a liaison with city-county government officials as well as resource management with the community.
  •       Communications: publishing and disseminating information.
  •       Preparedness: increasing mutual awareness and encouraging effective disaster relief and procedures.

One main component of the COAD and utilization of services during times of disaster and disaster recovery is the Volunteer Reception Center (VRC). The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley plays a large role in the implementation of the VRC upon activation from the Black Hawk County Emergency Management Coordinator.

A VRC is a one-stop shop for volunteers to register and be placed with volunteer assignments to assist during these times of disasters. The main goal is to have volunteers accounted for and hours served tracked. This is important during disasters as volunteer hours can be counted towards matching dollars to receive disaster recovery dollars from the state and federal governments.

A VRC might become activated to assist with sandbag efforts or tornado debris pick-up, but it can also be utilized to assist with searching for missing persons, too.

Once activated, the VRC begins set-up at a variety of pre-determined and partnered locations (depending on the type of disaster and the availability of locations). As volunteers arrive in the intake area, contact information will be taken during a brief interview process, each volunteer will receive a scan-able bracelet; which will track volunteer from check-in to check-out; a quick training will occur, and volunteers will be loaded onto provided transportation to be delivered to various points in the community to provide assistance.

Upon completion of service, a volunteer will be loaded back on transportation and will be scanned out of the system.

Part of the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley’s mission is to assist with the coordination of community partnerships and the Black Hawk County COAD and the VRC are just that – a huge partnership. 

For more information on the Black Hawk County COAD or to learn more about becoming part of the VRC team, contact the VCCV at information@vccv.org or (319) 272-2087.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Make a Disaster Plan for Your Pets

How to keep pets safe in natural disasters and everyday emergencies

Start getting ready now
ID your pet

Make sure that cats and dogs are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. You'll increase your chances of being reunited with pets who get lost by having them microchipped; make sure the microchip registration is in your name. But remember: The average citizen who finds your pet won't be able to scan for a chip, but they will probably be able to read a basic tag!

Put your cell phone number on your pet's tag. It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area—in case you have had to evacuate.

Put together your disaster kit
Use our checklist to assemble an emergency kit for yourself and your pet.

Find a safe place to stay ahead of time
Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter. Before a disaster hits, call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets and verify that there will be shelters in your area that take people and their pets.

Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size and species. Inquire if a "no pet" policy would be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of animal-friendly places handy, and call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.

For help identifying pet-friendly lodgings, check out these websites:
·       Bringfido.com
·       Dogfriendly.com
·       Doginmysuitcase.com
·       Pet-friendly-hotels.net
·       Pets-allowed-hotels.com
·       Petswelcome.com
·       Tripswithpets.com

Make arrangements with friends or relatives. Ask people outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets—or just your pets—if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to arrange to house them at separate locations.

Consider a kennel or veterinarian's office. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in disaster emergencies (make sure to include their 24-hour telephone numbers).

Check with your local animal shelter. Some shelters may be able to provide foster care or shelter for pets in an emergency. But keep in mind that shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched during a local emergency.

Plan for your pet in case you're not home
In case you're away during a disaster or evacuation order, make arrangements well in advance for someone you trust to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Be sure the person is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with them. Give your emergency caretaker a key to your home and show them where your pets are likely to be (especially if they hide when they're nervous) and where your disaster supplies are kept.

If you have a pet-sitter, they may be able to help. Discuss the possibility well in advance.

If you evacuate, take your pet!
Rule number one: If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed.
Pledge to take your pet with you when disaster strikes.

Rule number two: Evacuate early. Don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind. The smell of smoke or the sound of high winds or thunder may make your pet more fearful and difficult to load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful.

If you stay home, do it safely
If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together.
·    Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide.
·    Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that have been stored in the area.
·    Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say trouble is on the way. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification.
·    If you have a room you can designate as a "safe room," put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including your pet's crate and supplies. Have any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies. If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape.
·    Listen to the radio periodically, and don't come out until you know it's safe.
After the disaster
Your home may be a very different place after the emergency is over, and it may be hard for your pets to adjust.
·    Don't allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations.
·    While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers inside the house. If your house is damaged, your pets could escape.
·    Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible. Be ready for behavioral problems caused by the stress of the situation. If these problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.
·    If your community has been flooded, check your home and yard for wild animals who may have sought refuge there. Wildlife can pose a threat to you and your pet. Check out our tips for humanely evicting wildlife.
Be ready for everyday emergencies
You can't get home to your pet
There may be times that you can't get home to take care of your pets. Icy roads may trap you at the office overnight, an accident may send you to the hospital—things happen. But you can make sure your pets get the care they need by making arrangements now:
·    Find a trusted neighbor, friend or family member and give him or her a key. Make sure this backup caretaker is comfortable and familiar with your pets (and vice versa).
·    Make sure your backup caretaker knows your pets' feeding and medication schedule, whereabouts and habits.
·    If you use a pet-sitting service, find out in advance if they will be able to help in case of an emergency.

Heat wave
High temperatures can be dangerous. Learn more about hot weather safety for pets.

The electricity goes out
If you're forced to leave your home because you've lost electricity, take your pets with you to a pet-friendly hotel. If it's summer, even just an hour or two in the sweltering heat can be dangerous. If you stay at home during a summer power outage, ask your local emergency management office if there are pet-friendly cooling centers in the area.
If it's winter, don't be fooled by your pets' fur coats; it isn't safe to leave them in an unheated house.

Thanks to the Humane Society of the United States