Planning For an Emergency
After Hurricane Katrina, tens of thousands of animals were injured or killed because pet owners had not properly planned for their evacuation or because official disaster responders did not have the tools to help. Right now, with Hurricane Harvey, we are seeing a very similar situation. Without a proper plan, it can be overwhelming or impossible for pet owners to evacuate with their animals. To ensure the safety and health of your animals, you should be prepared for what to do for them in case of an emergency.
- ID your pets– make sure your pet has a collar and identification tags and/or microchips.
- Find a safe place ahead of time – call your local office of emergency management as well as hotels outside of your immediate area to find out if they will accept pets (or if they don’t whether they will waive that policy in case of an emergency). If you have friends or family outside of your immediate area, check to see if they can shelter your pets (and you). Also check kennels, vet offices, and animal shelters to see if they can board your animal in case of an emergency.
Check these websites to identify pet-friendly lodges:
- Plan for your pet in case you’re not home – make arrangements with a neighbor, family member, or friend to get your pets and disaster supplies and meet you at a certain place if you are not home when it is time to evacuate. Make sure your pet knows and trusts this person.
- If you evacuate, please take your pet– the rule is that if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. And evacuate early before conditions are severe to keep it less stressful.
- If you stay home, be prepared – Bring your pets indoors (please do NOT keep your pet chained up outside. Designate a “safe room” with your emergency supplies, and be sure to remove any toxic chemicals and plants from the room, as well as close off small areas where frightened cats may run to and get stuck in.
Disaster Kit (bring with you if you evacuate or keep with you in your safe room):
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and carriers
- Medications, medical records, and a first aid kit
- Supply of pet food and water for at least five days per pet inside watertight containers
- Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop, and/or garbage bags
- Current photos of you with your pets (in case you get separated)
- Written information about your pets’ feeding schedules, medical conditions, and behavior issues (in case you need to board your pet)
Always remember that pets left at home during a natural disaster can easily get injured, lost, or killed. Don’t forget about your beloved furry friends; have a disaster plan and kit prepared in case of any emergency.