In addition to the 5 humans, there are 3 dogs, 2 cats and 12 guinea pigs (the dogs and cats get along fine, luckily). There isn't a lot of room in the shelter so we have to cram in. We didn't have many threats from disasters in Reno and all of them came with plenty of notice, so I didn't concern myself too much, other than having a plan for evacuation. Here, they strike without notice, so we have to have a plan. Getting us, the dogs and cats to the shelter is easy enough, but what about the guinea pigs?
I have 2 carriers that can fit 2 pigs in each one long enough to get them downstairs and we can get the other 2 larger carriers very quickly, but it's awkward and we still can't get them all down at once. There's also the problem of how to house them after we get them into the shelter and how to keep them safe from the dogs and cats as well as the storm. I need a better plan and I have an idea that I'd like to get opinions on.
Part 1: I am going to get enough small animal carriers to get them all down there in one trip. With 5 of us we should be able to carry them all.
Part 2) I am going to convert part of the shelves in the shelter into temporary cages for them. Take a look:
There are actually 2 columns of 5 shelves, but the picture only shows the 6 I need and they are at the top so the dogs and cats cannot reach them. I can easily make cage doors out of the extra pieces of the collapsible pens I have. I am also going to store extra bedding for them. I will also need to come up with a way to keep at least a days worth of hay in there and make it mouse proof. A tote won't work by itself because mice can breech them fairly easily. I was thinking of using those vacuum sealed bags inside of the totes. That way the smell of the hay will be masked and there's a double layer of protection. What do you guys think?
I might rotate out the hay so there is fresher hay if you need shelter. Extremely tight quarters for all of you. How is the shelter constructed? Concrete walls? What kind of ceiling?
I am sure you will have lots of water down there. You will have to also consider supplying water to them all. Do the carry cages have waterers attached?
I'm getting new water bottles for all of the guinea pigs, so I'll keep the old ones for the shelter. I don't have a way to keep fresh veggies down there, but as long as they have hay, pellets and water to last a day or two, they will be ok. The carry cages have a way to attach a water bottle, but it's not necessary for getting them to the shelter, as they'll go directly to their emergency cages, which will have water bottles for them. The biggest problem with this whole shelter project is keeping the mice out of their supplies. A good rotation of fresh items every month or even every other month should suffice.
It was pretty scary for us city folk being told that there was a tornado warning and to shelter up immediately. We scrambled to get everyone down there and didn't grab the piggies because there was no plan for that and no way to house them safely. I ended up staying upstairs with them and keeping watch on the night sky as best I could. It really got me to thinking about that. It wasn't a particularly good feeling having to leave them upstairs at the mercy of mother nature and I won't be doing that again.
- For the Love of Pigs
Do you have good reception for St. Louis (or maybe Little Rock) tv stations? Channels 2,4,5 have great coverage with the meteorologists telling you exactly where the tornado or circulation is & where it's headed and when to take cover. I was watching during this last round of tornadoes. I found out the hard way, if you have satellite tv you lose the signal during bad storms (I think that happened to our GL member). That's when I need it most so I dumped it as soon as I could.
I've lived most of my life in Kansas City and St. Louis and been through many, many of tornado warnings - only 2 close calls. Bottom line being it's still very unlikely you will be in the path of a tornado. But I always go to the basement when the sirens go off, with my family & pigs of course. I need to talk to the girls about how to deal with all 7 pigs in the small basement bathroom where we shelter. You won't be down there for long.
It's always good to have plans & supplies for emergencies. You probably know this: SE Missouri has some earthquake risk from the New Madrid Fault in the Boot Heel.
I have to finish repairs on the house from the bad roof. It's apparently been leaking for some time and finally gave way. When I got into it, I found quite a bit of water damage. Luckily it was all on the patio covering and none over the house. I've replaced the sheathing and reroofed the spot, but I have to rebuild the damaged side of the patio covering. Once that's done, I'm going to start on the shelter project. Oh, the perils of home ownership!
- For the Love of Pigs
Also, hopefully you won't be stuck in the basement long enough to need supplies. Tornadoes are typically quick events, and while people can get trapped in their basements more likely than not you'll be able to get out even if you take a direct hit, which you probably won't.
When a tornado watch is issued, that's when we will gather the carriers and get everyone ready to go to the shelter. That's when I'll break out the bedding for the shelter cages and make them up. I use fleece blankets for bedding, so it will be easy to put it down and get the cages ready. I should be able to button everything up and repack it for the next storm when the danger passes. I even have extra tunnels and huts to go into them so the piggies have a place to hide. I imagine they'll need it under those circumstances.
I also found my locator beacon. I got it from the base fire department. If we get trapped under debris, we turn it on and it lets out a very loud and high pitched beep so rescue know we're there.