Preparation is Key: Even for Dogs
Earlier this week you probably got your hurricane kit together and got ready for Isaac. We did here, too! Here’s a look at what it takes to prepare a guide dog campus for inclement weather.
We have been lucky once again and watched as Isaac skirted our coast. Some people had a bit of flooding, but overall, the impact was far less than expected. But if it had turned our direction, would you have been ready?
Days before the storm was forecasted to affect the area, our team began preparing campus. Having been headquartered in Florida for 30 years, we are well acquainted with tropical storms and while we have not had a direct hit, we still prepare for the worst case scenario.
Preparations begin by taking a look at the timeline for the storm and what is happening on campus. TS Isaac sort of threw a monkey wrench at us, as it was due to hit on Monday, which coincidently was the day our next group of students would be arriving to begin training. Our highest priority is keeping our students safe, so bringing them on campus during a tropical storm did not seem like a good idea. The decision was made to postpone class until the storm passed.
Next in order of importance would be our dogs on campus, which includes approximately 65 dogs-in-training and more than 30 puppies. Depending on the track of a storm, there are different plans in place to either hunker down with the dogs here on campus or evacuate them. Certain staffers volunteered to take care of the dogs in either scenario.
Once the plan was in place for the dogs, the campus needed to be secured. The buildings and maintenance staff started at one end of the campus and made sure everything was tied down, put away, and secured in case of high winds.
Generators needed to be tested, to make sure that in the case of a power outage, basic needs could be met. Food and water for anyone staying on campus needed to be prepared and rationed.
Here’s something you wouldn’t have had to think of, but was of vital importance to our Genetics & Reproduction staff. Some of our dogs are impregnated using artificial insemination and the frozen samples are stored on campus safely in liquid nitrogen. Those samples were secured prior to the storm and if the dogs ended up being evacuated, the samples would have travelled along with them.
Just like you probably did for your own car, each of the 19 or so vehicles on campus were filled with gas.
Once the call came down that Manatee County government was closing for the storm, the campus was closed as well, so our employees could see to the safety of themselves and their families.
Issac passed and Tuesday came and saw us heading back onto campus. We all collectively breathed a sigh of relief when the storm passed without incident and feel even better in knowing that if another storm heads our way, we’ll be ready.