We all know what we need to do to prepare for a cyclone. But have you included your house pet and your other domestic animals in your preparations? Here are some things you can consider to give the animals in your care the best chance possible in a disaster.
If you can, bring the dogs and cats indoors. If you cannot do this, unchain them and make sure there is at least some shelter they can hide out in.
Store their food and water and have some boxes or newspaper ready for their toilet (you can put these in the bathroom). Keep some plastic or rubbish bags handy.
If you have cages, when the cyclone is closer, place your pets safely inside the cages so if you have to move, you can do it quickly. During the height of the cyclone, you can help your pet feel safer by covering the cage with a towel or blanket.
Consider your options now - if you have to move to an evacuation centre (where animals are not catered for), are you prepared to leave your pets behind? If not, what options might be available to you?
If you do have to move to an evacuation centre, and there is no-one around to look after your pets, let them out and leave food.
For large animals such as cows and horses, if you can, move them to higher ground away from fast flowing flooding zones. Do this well before the cyclone arrives and follow all National Disaster Office and government advice.
Before the cyclone hits, untie the horses or cows - this gives them a chance to find their own safe spot.
After the cyclone, put out food and water and call the animals - they may not return immediately, but they generally will come out when they feel safe. Just keep making your presence known and put food out.
If you and your family are ok after the cyclone, help others. Look out for wandering animals and secure and feed them if you can. You will be doing another person - and the animal - a service. Cows and horses are people's livelihoods. The return of a beloved dog, cat, a cow and even poultry can be an emotional support for people who are dealing with the trauma of the cyclone and loss of home and possessions.