Are you ready for a disaster? What will happen to your pets if you must evacuate your home? National humane organizations, law enforcement agencies, disaster response agencies, and many others encourage every pet owner to develop a personal disaster plan to implement in the event of an emergency. A significant event could affect any one of us at any time from a personal situation such as a house fire to a more wide-spread event such as a tornado or winter storm. To protect your animal friends, you must plan ahead so their safety and well-being are protected.
Disaster Preparedness Tips
Here are some simple precautions to take to protect your pet now:
- Be sure your pet always wears a current rabies tag, an identification tag with current information, and a mircochip.
- Place an out-of-state contact name and number along with your own on your pet’s ID tag.
- Have your pet’s health certificate and a photo handy at all times to prove ownership if you’re separated from your pet during a disaster. Be sure your certificate includes your pet’s microchip number.
- Keep your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date in case you have to board your pet or leave the state.
- Purchase a leash and/or a portable carrier large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around in.
- Create a list of boarding facilities within a 100-mile radius of your home, and a list of nearby hotels that accept pets and under what circumstances.
- Ask your local animal shelter if they have an evacuation plan for animals, and if they’d be able to care for your specific type of pet during an emergency.
- List friends and relatives who could care for your pet for an extended period of time if you lose your home.
- Take your pet with you when you evacuate! If you must leave your house, do not leave your pets behind. If it is unsafe for you to remain, then it is unsafe for your pet as well. And, you may not be able to return to your home for an extended period of time.
It may seem unnecessary to do all this now. But you can never be too prepared. When disaster strikes, phone lines go down, public facilities become overwhelmed, and essential services are often unavailable.