Everyone can benefit from having a household evacuation plan in place. It’s the best way to protect your family and pets in case of disaster. What is best for you is typically what's best for your animals. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency depends largely on the planning you do today. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets.
Some of the things you can do to prepare for an emergency; assembling an emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency.
Emergency Supply Kit
FOOD & WATER. Have at least 5 days of food and water in an airtight container.
MEDICINE AND MEDICAL RECORDS. Have an extra supply of medicine along with directions on administering. Have copies of your pets most recent medical records. They may be required for your pets to be accepted into a shelter.
IDENTIFICATION. Keep up-to-date identification on your pet at ALL times. Please consider micro-chipping your animals and making sure their microchip number is registered. Have a picture of you and your pet together in case you are separated to help document ownership .
CRATE OR PET CARRIER. Have a sturdy, safe, and comfortable way to transport and keep your animals safe. Include a blanket or a favorite toy to help relieve stress for your pet. Bring a harness and leash for taking animals out of their carrier.
SANITATION. Bring litter and a disposable litter pan if appropriate. Include any other items such as trash bags, brushes, and disinfectants.
IF YOU EVACUATE
Make a Plan
If you have to evacuate, take your pet with you. Remember that evacuation shelters generally do not allow pets. Now is the time to make the necessary arrangements to assure that you and your animals will have a place to go in an event of an emergency.
LODGING. Secure appropriate lodging a head of time. Make sure you have multiple options, include friends and family out of town and out of state as well as a list of pet friendly hotels and motels.
BUDDY SYSTEM. Make a back up plan with neighbors, friends, or relatives in case an emergency happens while you are not home to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets. Make sure they know where you keep your emergency pet kit and have easy access to enter your home.
IF YOU STAY HOME
SAFE ROOM. If you are waiting out a storm or other disaster at home you will need to stay together in an area that is animal friendly. Keep your emergency supplies in this designated safe room including fresh water, pet food, and any other supplies that may be necessary. Close off any unsafe nooks or crannies such as a fireplace or vent where a frightened animal may try to hide and potentially become trapped. Keep windows and doors shut and remove any tools or toxic items out of the area. Keep your cats in carriers, and leashes and collars with ID for dogs ready in case of an unexpected evacuation.
Know ahead of time what type of emergencies or natural disasters your area is prone to and plan accordingly. Get to know the emergency plans that have been established by your state and local government.
STAY INFORMED. Be ready to adapt to new information and news that may effect your personal circumstance. Listen to the radio periodically. Make every effort to follow instructions provided by the authorities and disaster relief workers.
AFTER A DISASTER
Your home and neighborhood may be a very different place after a disaster. Landmarks and scents your pets are accustomed may be gone, potentially causing your animal to become disoriented. It is important to keep a good eye on your pets after a disaster has occurred.
DO NOT LET THEM ROAM LOOSE. A disaster can alter the environment your pet was accustomed to. Pets can easily get lost in such situations. In the case of floods or fires you will need to search your home and yard for any wild animals that may have sought refuge in or around your home. Scared wild animals can pose a serious threat to your pets.
BE PATIENT. Try to get your pets back into their normal routines as soon as possible. Be ready for any behavioral problems caused by the stress of the situation. If any serious problems occur or the health of your pet seems questionable contact your veterinarian immediately.
CLICK HERE to download our Disaster Planning Brochure.