When disaster strikes at the hand of Mother Nature, it’s important for pet owners in disaster-prone areas to prepare for these types of emergencies.  The Humane Society of the Unites States is always a front-line provider, along with other animal rescue groups and countless volunteers to provide much-needed assistance and rescue of stranded and lost animals. Having a personal Emergency Plan in advance will help ensure that your pets are safely evacuated and lessen their burden.

ASPCA Tips for Pet Disaster Preparation.

 Get a Pet Rescue Alert Sticker

This sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes (a) the
types and number of pets in your household and (b) the name of your veterinarian and their phone number. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers.

To get a free emergency pet alert sticker for your home, go to ASPCA for on-line ordering or visit your local pet supply store.

Arrange a Safe Haven

Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND.  They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Not all Red Cross disaster shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:

  • Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels & facilities.
  • Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
  • Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
  • Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.

Pet Emergency Supplies and First-Aid Kits

Keep supplies handy for your pets! Items should include:

  • Pet first-aid kit (you can purchase a ready-made kit for $24 through our affiliate link to Chewy.com)
  • 3-7 days’ of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Litter or paper toweling, dish soap and disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet food dishes
  • Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
  • Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires. Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless.
  • Bottled water, at least 7 days’ for each person & pet. Store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months.
  • A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier
  • Flashlight & Blanket
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
  • Especially for cats: Pillowcase, toys and scoop-able litter

You should also have an emergency kit for the human family members. Items to include: Batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication and copies of medical and insurance information.

Choose A Designated Caregiver

When choosing a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your home. They should be someone who is generally home during the day or has easy access to your home. A set of keys should be given to this trusted individual. This may work well with neighbors who have pets of their own—you may even swap responsibilities.

When selecting a permanent caregiver, you’ll need to consider other criteria. This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something should happen to you. When selecting this permanent “foster” parent consider people who have met your pet and have successfully cared for animals in the past. Be sure to discuss your expectations with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet. A helpful and detailed Designated Caregiver Checklist is available from 2nd Chance for Pets.

Evacuation Preparation

If you must evacuate your home in a crisis, plan for the worst. If you think you may be gone for only a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced, follow the instructions of local and state officials.

To minimize evacuation time, take these simple steps:

  • Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number, and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.
  • The ASPCA recommends micro-chipping as a more permanent form of identification. A microchip is implanted in the animal’s shoulder area and can be read by scanners at most animal shelters.
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis.
  • Consider your evacuation route and call ahead to make arrangements for boarding your pet outside of the danger zone at the first sign of disaster.

Geographic and Climate Considerations

Do you live in an area that is prone to certain natural catastrophes, such as tornadoes, earthquakes or floods? If so, you should plan accordingly.

  • Determine well in advance which rooms offer safe havens. These rooms should be clear of hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.
  • Choose easy-to-clean areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms, and basements as safe zones.
  • Access to a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.
  • In the event of flooding,  go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.

If emergency officials recommend that you stay in your home, it’s crucial that you keep your pets with you. Keep your Evac-Pack and supplies
close at hand. Your pets may become stressed by the frantic commotion, so you may consider crating them for safety and comfort.

By all means, heed the warnings of your local authorities and be safe!




photo attribution: Camylla Battani @ unsplash.com


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