Emergency Preparedness – Pet Safety

Are you a pet owner? If so, any emergency plan should include your pets! The best way to prepare for any emergency or disaster is to have a plan. This plan needs to include any type of pet in your home; dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and maybe even reptiles. So you may be asking…

How Can I be Prepared? One of the first steps in preparation is to assemble a portable kit with the supplies for your pets.

Keep these items in an accessible place, preferably with your family emergency kit. Your pet kit should include:

■■ Leashes/harnesses and or portable carriers to transport any pet safely. Is your pet tagged with your ID information and contact numbers?

■■ Food, drinking water, bowls, perhaps a portable cat litter tray and a manual can opener.

■■ Place all medications and or copies of medical records in a waterproof container. Be sure to mark this container as “pet” so as not to confuse with human medications.

■■ Consider assembling or purchasing a pet first aid kit. They are available through many retailers and the Red Cross.

■■ Copies of their licenses and maybe a photo. If lost, many pets may look alike. This may be a good time to consider a “microchip” for your furry loved ones.

■■ Know which hotels will accept pets in case of evacuation. This may also include which friends/family will welcome not only you but your pets.

■■ Include your dogs and cats in your emergency drills or evacuations. This will help if you need to use a pet carrier for transporting.

After the Disaster: Your pet’s behavior may change dramatically after a disaster or evacuation. Be aware of their mood and keep close to family members. Remember that familiar fences and gates may be damaged or missing. Use the leash.

Watch the area for debris, spilled fertilizers or other chemicals. Some animals will eat anything! Pet safety is an important factor in your overall family plan. Being prepared can help the stress level and safety of you and your pet family in any emergency or evacuation.

—Jeannie Sticher

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