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Facilities Adapt to Protect Against Hurricane Irma


By Ryan Berlin Emergency Preparedness

That element of adapting is key when preparing for disasters at animal care facilities — learning from past surprises to better prep for the future.

In preparation for Hurricane Irma, Zoo Miami's plan is to stay put, too, says communications director Ron Magill. The reasoning, in part, is because the path of hurricanes can change quickly, and transporting an animal could actually mean moving it into more danger.

"That's probably the No. 1 question I get asked: 'Oh my God, when are you going to evacuate animals?' We are never going to evacuate animals," Magill says.

The stress of evacuating alone can be enough to kill an animal. Instead, the birds and small mammals of Zoo Miami will ride out the storm in independent kennels or buildings. The larger residents, particularly the carnivores and great apes, will bunker down in their usual indoor holding areas.

"Those night houses are made of poured concrete, welded metal, to withstand the strength of the animal itself," Magill says. "And fortunately, it's also strong enough to withstand the strength of a major hurricane."

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This Quick Read was submitted by Ryan Berlin, managing editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions, ryan.berlin@tradepressmedia.com. Read more about how to prepare a roof for a hurricane and preparing for a disaster during hurricane season.

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