Emergency Planning

Disaster can strike at any time. Hurricane Katrina taught us that we need to prepare now, so that our animals aren’t left behind.

If you were in an emergency, what items would you need for your furry friends? How should you plan ahead? What should you do if disaster strikes? Here’s a list of things you can do now to make sure your pet survives a disaster.

Plan ahead
Prepare an emergency supply kit for your pet. It should include:

  • A first aid kit, medications and medical records. Store all paperwork in a waterproof container.
  • Sturdy leashes and harnesses.
  • Carriers to safely transport smaller pets. Each carrier should be large enough to allow the animal to stand up, turn around and lie down. Consider including blankets or towels for bedding and warmth.
  • A three-day supply of food and water for each pet, as well as bowls and a manual can opener if necessary.
  • A three-day supply of litter for each cat, as well as a litter box.
  • A folder with current photos and descriptions of your pets so that they can be easily identified in case you become separated.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing up-to-date identification at all times. This should include your contact information as well as the phone number of someone out of the area in case your pet becomes lost while you’re not at home.

Make a list of several locations where you can take your pet during an evacuation.

  • Contact motels and hotels outside your immediate area to ask about their pet policies. Be sure to ask about any restrictions on size, species and number of pets. If a motel or hotel does not normally accept pets, ask if their “no pet” policy would be waived during a disaster.
  • Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets, or just your pets, in the event of an emergency.
  • Create a list of veterinary offices or boarding facilities that might be able to shelter animals in emergencies.

When a disaster strikes
Here are some helpful tips on how to evacuate a disaster area with your pet.

  • Take your pet with you. Animals that are turned loose or left behind to fend for themselves are likely to become victims of exposure, starvation, predation, contaminated food or water, or accidents. Even if you think you’re only going to be gone for a few hours, take your pet with you.
  • Leave the area early — don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order. It’s far better to make an unnecessary trip than to wait too long to leave safely.
  • Call to confirm emergency shelter arrangements for you and your pets.
  • Bring your pets into the house and confine them so you can leave quickly if you have to. Make sure your pet’s emergency supply kit is ready to go.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States