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5 Lessons We Learned from the Marshall Fire

The Marshall Fire that swept through Louisville and Superior on December 30, 2021 destroyed over 1000 homes, taking the lives of many pets with it. While a natural disaster like this cannot always be predicted, there are a number of lessons that have come to light in the aftermath that can serve to help us with future emergency situations.
  1. Microchip your pet. While many owners were not able to get home in time to save their pets and subsequently perished, others escaped or were rescued by emergency responders during the event. Do you know what made the biggest difference in reuniting these pets with their families? Microchipping. Especially for the indoor-only cats who often are not microchipped,  reunification was made difficult because they couldn’t be easily and quickly identified when trapped or found in the days and weeks after the event. Microchipping is both fast and affordable and even indoor-only cats benefit from it.

  2. Signup for emergency alerts from your county.  If you have a landline from Century Link or VOIP phone from Xfinity/Comcast, your number is automatically updated in most systems. For cell phones, you must create an opt-in profile for your county’s emergency alert system that contains your mobile device information. Choose to receive voice calls, text messages, TTY/TDD, emails or faxes, and if an address listed on your profile is within the geographical boundary created by public safety officials for an event, you will receive information through your chosen contact paths. Sign up for mobile emergency alerts in Boulder County here and Broomfield and Jefferson Counties here.

  3. Know your neighbors. This includes the best way to contact them and, if comfortable, how to access their home and vice-versa. Pets were saved by neighbors helping neighbors. Sharing your house key or garage code could help to save your pet in the next emergency. So could this “Pet Inside” sticker that can be placed on doors and windows.

  4. Pack a to-go bag for your pet. If you do have advance notice and time to respond to a disaster, this bag should include medications your pet is taking, food and water for at least a few days, bowls, collar with identification tag, leash, cardboard box for a cat litter box, cat litter, litter scooper, blanket or bed, toy, calming treats if you have them, a basic first aid kit, trash bags and towels.

  5. If you pet goes missing in a disaster, register it with the Office of Emergency Management. The county in which the disaster occurs  will send first responders to rescue or find your pet and bring them to the designated shelter for that disaster.

For the latest updates on Marshall Fire resources, donations or volunteer opportunities, please click here.