Sure, you have a plan for your family in case the unexpected happens, but have you thought about what you’d do with that beloved family pet in the event of an emergency? Planning ahead to take care of the animal members of your family can provide you peace of mind now and happiness later on. Read on for tips on how to ensure your four legged friends are well taken care of should the unexpected happen.
According to Department of Homeland Security, “The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done today. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency.”
So, if you’ve already put together a disaster plan and kit for your family, consider updating both to include your animal friends. Make sure you’ve thought ahead about where you can shelter with your animal(s), and that you have a supply of food, water, bedding, and any necessary medicines on hand. Most importantly, if you do have to evacuate to a shelter, DON’T leave your animals behind!
Even before a disaster strikes, make sure your pet has an ID. A good way to ensure your pet is easily identifiable by a veterinarian’s office is to have a microchip implanted in the animal. The chips, which contain vital information about your furry friend, are placed under the skin and can be read with a special device. The great thing about chips is that you can get them for dogs and cats, as well as reptiles, birds, and larger animals like horses.
It’s also a great idea to get a pet rescue sticker. Brightly colored and placed in an obvious and highly visible place, a pet rescue sticker clearly identifies for first responders which type and how many animals are inside the home. Remember: if you leave a burning building without your pet, DO NOT go back inside. As hard as it will be to do, wait for the fire department to arrive and go to the rescue. Need a pet rescue sticker? Our friends at the ASPCA have provided an easy way to get one.
Need more information? Our friends at FEMA have produced a downloadable brochure with additional information. Check it out! The ASPCA also has some great resources and advice, as does the Humane Society.
Do you have a suggestion for keeping your pets safe during an emergency? Please share it in the comments! We’d love to hear from you. Stay safe!