Disasters and your pets: Are you ready?

This guide will help you and your family get prepared

Fires, floods, hurricanes, and blizzards can be cause extreme danger to humans and animals alike. Disasters can strike in any place, at any time, and often there is little or no warning.

Most government agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), strongly encourage each household to have a predetermined emergency plan (and an emergency bag for every member of the family) in case of an evacuation from their home, neighborhood, town or city. 

FOUR PAWS has put together some tips to help you be the most prepared for anything that should come your way! Most importantly, plan for your pet BEFORE a disaster strikes. Preparedness saves lives. Put simply, preparedness can be broken down into three major components: Knowing, Planning and Collecting.

1.) Knowing. 

This means doing some research to understand the dangers that are most likely to arise in your area. Whether these threats are hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, earthquakes, or floods, knowing what kinds of disasters you may face is important and will help guide your Disaster Plan. 


2.) Planning. 

Time to make a plan. Now that you know what specific disasters may affect your area, time to plan out how you will react to them. Simplest terms, this is predetermining how you will get out in case of an evacuation, where you would go, or who you will meet. 

Your disaster preparedness plan should include all members of your family and household. Make sure they all know the plan. You may never know who will be home or the first to be home to safely pack your pets for an evacuation.


3.) Collecting.

Time to Make a Disaster Kit. Now that we know what kinds of disasters may come our way, and we have a plan on how we will response, now we need to stock that plan with resources to make it safe and efficient. 

A Disaster Preparedness Kit for YOUR Pet

  • Food and water for at least 5 days
  • Food and water bowls
  • Blankets, towels or bedding
  • Trash bags (for pet waste)
  • Sturdy collar, harness and leash
  • Collapsible carrier or crate
  • If your animal uses medication, make sure to have a supply
  • Up-to-date contact list including, veterinarians (your local vet and two vets in opposite directions up to 50 miles away), friends or family you could stay with when you evacuate, pet-friendly evacuation centers or hotels, animal shelters or boarding facilities that could look after your pet, and local rescue and emergency authorities.
  • Documents such as copies of your pet’s identification papers, and medical records should be kept in a waterproof protective cover in the kit.
  • Lastly, your kit should be stored in an easy-to-carry box or bag in a safe and dry place.

Your disaster plan and kit will help you in determining how you will get out in case of an evacuation (which type of transportation, car, train, etc. and if they can take pets), and where you would go and meet (making sure again these places, whether a hotel or a relative’s home, does accept and have room for your pets). 

Some additional advice:

Making sure that all family and household members know the plan is important. Each family member should be aware of how to act safely and what action steps to follow. Leaving a clear plan in place is the most effective way to securing the survival and safety of each member of your family, pets included.

Practice your plan: Practice evacuating quickly and calmly, and in taking shelter at home away from doors and windows. Know your pets’ hiding places so you can easily find them in an emergency. Practicing will help your pet get used to the routine and will reduce their stress should a disaster occur. 


FOUR PAWS in Disasters

FOUR PAWS has dispatched emergency response and disaster relief teams to many areas around the world to help animals in need after natural disasters. We provide food, medical care, and our expertise to help rescue and care for animals and reunite pets with their families. It is from this experience that we know that nothing can replace preparedness. Each one of us has the power to plan ahead of time ensuring the safety of our family and pets. 

FOUR PAWS believes animal welfare is an important pillar of humanitarian work. The organization works to have a meaningful global impact on the welfare of animals and the communities they live in.

Sheep being led safety in a flood

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