Disasters can strike anytime, anywhere, and to anybody. Tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, hazardous material spills – who can predict when these will occur? While there is never a shortage of help for people in disasters, help for pets is rarely available. It is critical that you develop an evacuation plan for your pets … they are defenseless in disasters and need your protection! Here are the basic steps you can take to protect your pet:
Get a rescue alert sticker: Placing a rescue alert sticker (see example on right) on your home windows will let rescuers know that pets are inside your home, in the event you cannot. The card must be visible to rescue workers and it must contain the types and number of pets in your household and your contact information.
Pre-arrange a safe haven for your pet: A safe haven for your pet must be found in ADVANCE – once an evacuation is issued, you will not have time to develop a plan. Whatever you do, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. If you do, they will not only be at risk of injury or death, but they will be at risk of severe suffering and agony in the process. Some places you can consider are your veterinarian’s office, boarding kennels, pet-friendly hotels in adjacent cities, or friends/relatives in adjacent cities. However, be sure they have a solid emergency plan in place as well!
Prepare an emergency kit for your pets: Time is of the essence when you must evacuate your home in a crisis. To ensure that you can protect your pets in time, prepare an emergency kit in ADVANCE with the items listed below.
• Leashes, extra collars, pet carriers
• Canned (pop-top) and dry food, feeding dishes, bottled water
• Disposable litter trays, litter or paper towels
• Blanket (for scooping up a scared pet and for bedding)
• Two-week supply of medication, medical records, your vet’s number,
and photos (in case you need to make “lost” posters) – all stored in
a waterproof container!
This emergency kit should be stored in a safe place that is easily accessible and can be found by others if needed. The records should be periodically reviewed and updated (every six months) to ensure accuracy.