Emergency Preparedness

General Emergency Preparedness Tips

  • Have a plan. Know where you need to go if a disaster or emergency affects your area.
    — Have a current list of hotels and shelters that are pet-friendly.
    — Know what area animal hospitals and boarding facilities could take your pets in an emergency
    — Have an out-of-town friend or family member who could shelter your pets if necessary. Offer the same for them!
    — Communicate with trusted neighbors so you can help each other’s pets if someone is out of town when disaster strikes
  • Be sure to have a pet emergency kit as well as one for your human family. Storing your kit in a backpack will make it easy to take with you.
  • Learn pet first aid and have a first-aid kit for animals.
  • Keep your pets either on a leash or in a crate so that they do not run away in a panic. Keep enough crates to hold each pet.
  • Have your pet microchipped and ensure that you not only keep your address and phone number up-to-date, but that you also include contact information outside of your immediate area.
  • Keep your pets up-to-date on shots. Many boarding facilities and pet shelters require animals have current vaccinations.
  • Stay informed! And listen to your local advisories. There are several alert systems including a FEMA app, a NOAA weather radio and many emergency management departments offer alert systems.
  • Know the warnings and what they mean. For example, a Tornado watch means conditions are favorable for the formation of thunderstorms capable of producing a tornado. A Tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted or has been detected by radar. You and you pets should take cover immediately.
  • If you have larger animals, here are some specific tips.
  • Birds and smaller animals have special requirements. Visit here for tips for those animals.
  • If your pet is lost during an emergency, strays are usually taken to your animal control agency or humane society. Here are other tips for finding a lost pet.

Fire Prevention and Preparedness

  • Have an escape plan, with alternate escape routes, and include your pets in this plan.
  • Practice your escape plan with ALL members of the family, including pets. Having your dog trained to reliably come on command is beneficial.
  • Have a pet emergency kit handy in case you need to leave your home.
  • Post a sticker or sign notifying emergency services that you have pets in the home.
  • Prevent potential fires by housing pets away from hazards, including crating or confining pets in safe areas when they can’t be supervised.
  • Use flameless candles or keep candles out of reach of children and pets.
  • If possible, keep pets near entrances when away from home. Keep collars on pets and leashes handy in case firefighters need to rescue your pet.

Tornadoes and Other Natural Disasters

  • Bring all outside pets inside! If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for them.
  • Have an emergency plan. Practice drills for retreating to a safe area in your home as well as evacuation. Depending on your area and whether it is prone to certain disasters, you may need slightly different drills for various situations.
  • Know where your pets’ hiding spots are, so you can grab them and take them to safety as quickly as possible. Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats or dogs may try to hide. If you have several pets, assign the responsibility of each pet to a different family member.
  • Create a tornado-safe area in your home – a windowless room nearest to the ground floor is recommended. An interior basement room, interior bathroom, closet or under-stairs storage could be options. The room should have no windows, skylights or glass doors.
  • Make your “safe room” pet friendly, including the removal of any dangerous items such as tools or toxic products. Store your emergency kits for pets and people here. If possible, store your emergency supplies in plastic containers in this room.
  • If you evacuate, take your pets with you! Even if you think you will only be gone for a few hours, you have no way of knowing how long you’ll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able to go back for your pets.
  • Don’t let pets roam the area until you have assessed and addressed potentially dangerous situations. Don’t allow your pets to go near water or other liquids on the ground and keep them away from any debris.
  • If your family gets stuck in your home during a flood, move to the upper floors or into your attic. During severe flooding, move onto your roof until help can arrive.
  • Keep your pets either on a leash or in a crate so that they do not run away in a panic. Keep enough crates to hold each pet.
  • Avoid downed power lines.

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