Before Disaster Strikes, Be Prepared!  
  1. Store a 30 day supply of food, shelter, camping supplies, first aid kit, flashlight, change of clothing, cold weather gear, sleeping bags, and cooking supplies outside your house in a small shed or rubber maid garbage container. If you live in an apartment, store the supplies in a large rubbermaid garbage container outside on your deck or in the closet closest to your door.
  1. In your car, store a 5 day supply of food, water, change of clothing, sleeping bag, toilet paper, first aid kit, flashlight, heavy boots, leather gloves, safety glasses, battery powered am/fm radio.
  1. In your work space store a 3 day supply of water, food, flashlight, plastic bag, and toilet paper. If you get trapped under your desk you'll have the items you need to survive until we can rescue you.

     Prepare for your pets' safety.
  1. Identify each pet in your house. Comb out their fur/hair and place that fur/hair inside a clean dry envelope. Seal it up. Write the animal's name on it. Attach a photo to it. Have your animal micro chipped or tattooed. Store this information in the trunk of your car.
  1. Get a kennel for each animal. If your home is destroyed, you'll need shelter for your pet. American Red Cross will not allow your pet inside a disaster shelter.
  1. Store a 30 day supply of food, water, first aid supplies for your pets outside your home.
  1. Prearrange for a neighbor to check on your animals and take care of them if a disaster strikes. If you're at work or on the road when the disaster occurs, you'll remain where you are unless you can walk home. Most roads will be closed, power lines down, trees down, car accidents everywhere. You'll be camping or walking.
  1. Contact I.K.9.S.A.R.S. immediately if your pet is missing and we'll bring out a search dog team to find your pet in the rubble  or track them.
  For more information or to schedule a disaster preparedness lecture for your organization, please contact us.

 International K-9 Search and Rescue Services
P.O. Box # 1472, Longview, Washington 98632 USA.
Office (360) 414-8093 Mobile (503) 705-0258.

There are a lot of folks who recently saw the devastation in Haiti on the news.
With 9-11, Katrina, and other disasters that we’ve seen, this has brought more awareness to our own vulnerability from earthquakes, floods, fires, tornados, terrorist attacks, and other disasters.

I’ve been asked by the local TV and Newspaper medias as well as some of the Departments of Emergency Management to address the issue of Disaster preparedness. I will address this issue on preparedness in the home for families, at schools for students and faculty, on the road for drivers, and in the work place for employees and employers.

I'm the International K9 Disaster Search and Rescue Coordinator for International K-9 Search and Rescue Services located near Portland, Oregon. I’ve instructed Urban K9 Search and Rescue teams around the world as well as responded personally to 16 major disasters. So I can speak to you through the rescuers first hand experience and tell you what you can do to help others and me like myself find you and your family alive and safe.

Before a disaster strikes, it's your responsibility to get prepared.
It’s not your governments, your city, or your states responsibility to prepare you. They have tried through postings on the Internet through FEMA, and in the beginning of each telephone book by posting a basic list of disaster supplies. But, they have their own issues to work on.

It’s your responsibility and yours alone.

BEING PREPARED. Here's what you'll need to gather for you and your family before disaster strikes. Develop a family plan, an office plan, and a personal plan, on what each of you will do before, during and after and event. If you are at work and an event takes place, who will look after your pets, your children, and how will you communicate with one another?

Telephone service will be down. No texting, no cellular service, no landlines.
This includes no emails. CB Radios and FSR radios work but have very short ranges.

Here’s a basic list of supplies that will help you stay alive. Now a lot of people are going to see this list and say, “ I don’t have that kind of money to go out and buy all this stuff”. You would be surprised on what you can pick up cheaply at GOOD WILL and other thrift stores. It takes time to put all the kits together. Don’t wait until an event happens. Start planning now.

Supplies: Ski cap. Why the ski cap? You loose 90% of your body heat through your head, if you are exposed to the elements it may make the difference between life and death.

Rain Gear. A pocket poncho and space blanket will work for basic protection.

Food. Beef Jerky, dried fruits, nuts, and similar products store well. Change them out once a year.

Water. A gallon container of water is preferred for each person per day, but even the min. of two-quart containers is better then nothing. A plastic bag can even be used to catch and collect rainwater. I also recommend some form of water purification system, filters, tablets, boiling your water for five minutes works.

First Aid. First take a course on CPR, and basic first aid. American Red Cross and other non-profit organizations can provide excellent basic courses. I recommend a container with four triangular bandages, first aid gloves, 10 4x4 Gauze pads, One roll Kling, One roll of first aid plastic tape, Scissors, flashlight, note pad, pencil, aspirin x 6 tablets. Four sugar packages. Neosporin or other anti bacteria cream.

Boots. I’m not talking about little fabric hiking shoes. I’m talking about heavy leather stitched lace up boots with lugged vibram soles. These will protect your feet from broken glass, sharp metal and concrete, nails, etc.

Gloves. Leather gloves. When you’re trying to dig your friends and family out of the rubble these will keep your hands from being destroyed.

Camping supplies. Tent, sleeping bag, ground tarp, insulite sleeping pad.

Cooking supplies. Fire making material, presto logs, hatchet, knife, candle, magnesium match, and some kind of container to boil water in.

Flashlights. I have a headlamp, extra batteries, and a small flashlight in all of my packs.

Plastic Whistle. Metal sticks to your lips if it’s cold out. If you are trapped you can blow your whistle or tap on something hard 3 times every time you hear something. If you are a rescuer and hear the 3 whistles or taps, you can respond by tapping or blowing your whistle twice. A basic form of communication.

Knives, saws, shovels, (Basics can be stored at home or in your vehicle.

Other equipment: Note book, pens, pencils, compass, sewing kit. I keep a needle and roll of dental floss in each of my packs.

Store a min. of 30 days supplies outside your house in a small shed, or rubber maid garbage container. If you live in an apartment or condo, store these items in a large Rubbermaid garbage container outside on your deck.

Talk with your neighbors, hold neighborhood association meetings and see what each person(s) strengths and weakness are that live near you. Occupations play a role here as well. Is someone a trained nurse, doctor, police officer, EMT, Vet tech, electrician, plumber. Do they have tools like chain saws, crowbars, shovels, and winches?

Get and idea of what your local resources are. 90% of the victims rescued in a disaster are rescued from your co-workers, neighbors, family, and friends.

In your car, 5 days of supplies. Why? After an event you most likely will not be able to drive. Roads are blocked, bridges and overpasses will have collapsed, power lines are down, there will be no fuel stations open, no restaurants, and most grocery stores will be closed. You are on your own. You will have to walk home. This may take up to a week to get home depending on the distance of your commute.

I’ve been asked, ”What if I take public transportation”? Millions of people do take public transportation each and every day”. Carry a small daypack with two quarts of water, first aid supplies, flashlight, plastic whistle, toilet paper, pocketknife, matches, candles, plastic bags, and food. A change of clothing, rain gear, ski cap.

In your workspace I suggest a min. of a 3 days of supplies. So if you duck cover and hold and if you get trapped under your desk, you'll have the items you need to survive until we can rescue you. The roof may have collapsed exposing you to the heat, cold, rain, and other weather elements. No electricity and being exposed will kill you unless you are prepared. All these items fit snuggly inside a one-gallon bucket.

Each classroom should store a min. of 3 days supply of the basics for each student. Some schools have obtained a large storage container outside of the school on school property and stored the basics there. Others have each student bring in the basics. Then if there is no disaster, they have a “I survived this year without a disaster party”. They drink their water, eat their survival food and discuss their plan of action”. (It’s a great refresher course each year for the kids).

1). Identify each pet in your house. Comb out their fur / hair and place that fir / hair inside a clean dry envelope. Seal it up. Write the animals name on it. Attach a photo to it. Have your animal micro chipped or tattooed. Take photos from various angles.

Store this info. in your car (In the trunk). Also store another container of hair in your garage, shed or emergency supply bin. Why is this important? If your home collapses during a disaster we can bring in trained search dogs to search the rubble that you once called home.

If you have the scent packets, the search dog will key in (ALERT) on just the one specific scent it is introduced to. If your pet took off on foot, the search dog can track it’s last known path and hopefully find it to be returned to you safe.

Without the packet of scent, the only thing a search dog can do is clear the rubble pile and tell us if there is anyone / anything alive or dead in the pile.

2). Have a kennel for each animal. If your home is destroyed you'll need some kind of shelter for your pet.

3). Store 30 days supplies of food, water, first aid supplies for your pets outside your home.

4). Remember American Red Cross will not allow your pet inside a disaster shelter. If you have to evacuate never ever leave your pet behind. Contact your local Humane Society for assistance in rescuing your pets.

5). Contact I.K.9.S.A.R.S. immediately if your human family member or your pet is missing and we'll try to bring out a search dog team to attempt to locate them in the rubble piles or track them to where they have traveled.

I.K.9.S.A.R.S. is an International K-9 Search and Rescue Team dedicated to saving both human and animal lives during times of disasters and non-disasters.

Since 1972, I’ve documented over 7,600 rescue calls around the world of both people and pets. I give safety lectures to neighborhood associations, schools, churches, safety fairs, and police dept’s. fire depts. SAR Agencies, and businesses for their health and safety lecture series. Rotaries and other groups.

If you want me to come speak your family, friends, office workers, rescue specialist, email me and we’ll set up an appointment. or call our offices at 503-705-0258.

We've assisted directly and indirectly during times of disasters through coordination or through sending teams and equipment in.

Armenia, Philippines, Turkey, Japan, Northridge and SF, Ca. and Haiti earthquakes. Floods and Fires around the world. Terrorist attacks responses during the Oklahoma City Bombing and 9-11. Hurricane disasters in Honduras and USA” Katrina”.

Thank you.
Harry Oakes and staff.

I.K.9.S.A.R.S. Harry’s Yahoo 360 blog re SAR.

Photos of Harry’s search dog teams in action.

Before your child comes up missing, identify them. If a child is missing, send us the information. We search for missing children and adults.

Write us at and we’ll send your our free child id kit.

If you know of anyone who is missing a human or pet family member please feel free to pass on our web site to them. Thank You.

Last revised 11/25/02.


Copyright © 2005 International K-9 Search and Rescue Services. All rights reserved.