Disaster & Evacuation Procedures
By: Karen McGovern

Here's RSCF's two cents regarding hurricane preparedness--you can never be too ready.  We've planned and prepared every year for hurricanes as if we're going to take a hit, no matter what.  We constantly watch and remove trees in and around the aviary and our fence line that may fall, dead or live.  We trim, and maintain the property as much as humanly possible.  It's a job that must be done every day when you live in Florida.  We trim around cages and enclosures--it's never-ending.

Last year we purchased two 9-ton each decommissioned refrigerated shipping containers from Tropical Shipping in Riviera Beach, FL.  They are 10 feet wide and 20 feet long, made of insulated aluminum and stainless steel. We modified the back, removing the old refrigeration units and putting in inexpensive window A/C units, outfitted the interior with lights, electric and tables - the front end has a large, locking swing door, plus a regular door we installed (that opens inward).  We use one for a feed storage unit and lined a wall with crates ready for birds should we have to catch anyone up.  The other is also for animals and for ourselves - we put in a mattress, microwave, radio and the usual hurricane supplies for both humans and animals (including first aid kits and a vet kit).  I cannot tell you how fantastic these units are, and they sit stacked and unused on a lot next to the shipping company.  We ordered another one today.  They cost around $900.00 apiece, delivered.

During the storm, which sat on our property for close to 10 hours, we could hear the wind howling, but were completely protected.  A huge pine landed directly on the bunker we were in, and we heard it, but didn't feel a thing, and the building didn't even scratch.  Since the storm, we have been blessed with volunteers, all of whom are now interested in buying one or more of these containers.  I say buy as many as you think you need to house birds/animals, line them up somewhere on your property (high ground if you can) and fill them with empty crates.  They, without a doubt, saved our lives and our animal's lives.