A natural disaster could leave you homeless, hungry and scared. Now think how your animals might feel.
Taking some precautionary steps to prepare yourself and your animals for an emergency disaster situation can make all the difference.
Create a Written Personal Disaster Plan:
Schedule a household meeting to discuss escape routes, location of evacuation supplies, and who will be in charge of each animal in an evacuation situation.
Fill out the Personal Disaster Plan.
Determine which rooms in your home offer safe havens. They should be away from windows, be easy to clean, and have access to fresh water. In flooding emergencies, go to the highest location in your house.
Arrange with a trusted neighbor to temporarily care for or evacuate your animals in your absence. Provide them with a house key, instructions, and emergency contact numbers to reach you. Since disaster shelters generally don’t admit animals, prearrange evacuation destinations for you and your animals outside your immediate area; consider family and friends or animal-friendly hotels.
Ready Animals and Evacuation Supplies:
Have a carrier for each animal; label them in advance with your name, address and emergency contact numbers. Carriers should be large enough for animals to stand up, lie down, and turn around comfortably.
Gather animal evacuation supplies. Store the supplies in or near the carrier.
Apply pet rescue stickers on each entry to your home identifying your animals and where they can be found in case you are not home at the time of crisis. Apply them to barn doors for horses.
Make sure that animals wear current visible identification (collar and identification tag) at all times. Familiarize animals with going in and out of carriers.
When Disaster Threatens:
Put your plan into action. Fill vehicle(s) with gas. Pack an atlas/road map. Get cash from the bank. Bring companion animals indoors at the first sign of possible danger. Turn haltered horses into securely fenced pastures.
Make sure all animals are wearing visible identification with out-of-area contact info. Place animals in individual carriers and ready evacuation supplies.
Listen to local weather and/or news updates for instructions as to whether to shelter in place or evacuate.
Sheltering in place:
Close and lock doors and windows. Seal gaps under doorways and windows with wet towels and duct tape if told to do so. Turn off ventilation systems, water and gas. Remain calm. Stay with your animals to provide comfort and reassurance.
If you evacuate, take your animals with you! Leave early, especially when evacuating horses. Load animal carriers into your vehicle; take along your evacuation kit. Lock your home. Post a note telling others when you left and where you are going. Travel on routes specified by local authorities. Keep dogs securely leashed when out of carriers. Use a harness and leash for cats.
After the Disaster:
Inspect your home and yard for dangers before allowing your family or animals in. Walk dogs on a leash and let cats become re-oriented room by room in your home. Animal behavior may change confusion and abnormal behavior are common. Review, practice, and update your plan regularly with your family.