This weeks topic will be emergency preparedness plans for your pets. As someone interested in preparedness you already have a disaster plan, right? If you have added a pet recently or just didn’t take them into account during your disaster planning know is the time to revise your plan. Different disasters require different plans. A severe winter storm may require you to shelter in place for a few days and will only require storing some extra food, water, cat litter etc. However an approaching hurricane, tornado, wildfire or a chemical spill may require you to evacuate your home.
In the event of a disaster that causes you to evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them as well. If it’s not safe for you to stay it’s not safe for them either. Take action now so you can better protect them in the event of an emergency
Know a Safe Place to Take Your Pets
- Local and state health and safety regulations do not permit the Red Cross to allow pets in disaster shelters. (Service animals are allowed in Red Cross shelters.)
- Contact hotels and motels outside your local area to check their policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size and species. Ask if “no pet” policies can be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of “pet friendly” places, including phone numbers, with your disaster kit.
- Ask friends and relatives outside the affected area whether they could shelter your animals.
- Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency. Include 24-hour phone numbers.
- Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets during a disaster.
Assemble a Pet Preparedness Kit
Keep your pet’s essential supplies in sturdy containers that can be easily accessed and carried (a canvas bag, backpack or covered trash can).
- Medications (stored in a waterproof container)
- First Aid kit – More on this later in the week
- Medical Records (laminated and stored on your portable document drive and/or a USB drive)
- Vaccination Records are necessary for boarding facilities and veterinary clinics that will allow you to board your pet(s)
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses, portable kennels and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can’t escape.
- Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
- Food and drinkable water
- Cat litter, litter box , scoop, and trash bags for waste disposal
- Manual can opener, plastic ware and disposable plates or bowls
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
- Pet bed or toys if easily transportable
This list will form the basis for pet bug out kit and is primarily targeted for cats and dogs. If you have other more exotic pets you will need to tailor this list to fit your pets needs.