Disaster Prep. & Your Pets

Are you prepared to keep your pets safe?

Although we are unlikely to experience a devastating hurricane here in Ohio, the recent string of horrific hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, Florida, and the Caribbean remind us that disaster preparedness is important.  Have you made a plan in case of a chemical spill?  How about if your home catches on fire?  It’s important to be ready, and plans must include our four legged family members!

Even though a law (the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act) was passed in 2006 that requires emergency management officials to accommodate people with their animals during an evacuation, there are many steps we can and should take to be prepared for an emergency.  Possibly more importantly, we need to be ready in the event of a personal calamity.  Those steps start with having a plan.

Make sure your pets:

  • Wear collars with up-to-date identification and/or are microchipped,
  • Have their carriers at the ready (can you get to them quickly if you smell fire?),
  • Have leashes readily accessible, and
  • Have back-up caregivers arranged should you be unable to care for your pets (and carry their contact info in your wallet with the label œin case I am incapacitated)

In an evacuation, make sure you:

  • Have a transportation plan for you and your pets, including back-up arrangements
  • Have a disaster kit ready that includes:
    • food
    • bowls
    • water
    • medical records
    • comfort items (e.g. a favorite toy)
    • blankets/pillow
    • any medications
    • recent photographs of your pets (in the event you become separated from them)
  • You should have at least seven days of supplies at the ready.

Finally, other steps to consider:

  • Have emergency alert stickers for your home that let first responders know you have pets (the ASPCA provides them for free)
  • Know where emergency veterinary services and pet-friendly hotels are located or how to find them quickly (Dogfriendly.com BringFido are great pet-friendly resources)
  • Have a pet first aid kit in your home and ready for travel (the Humane Society has more details)

While none of us want to think about disasters, we owe it to our beloved four-legged family members to think about it for them and to be prepared.

Additional tips and more information:

ASPCA: Disaster Preparedness
CDC: Disaster Preparedness for Your Pet
Red Rover: Pet Disaster Preparedness