Planning ahead and preparing for a disaster before it strikes is very important to your pet’s safety and well-being. Here is a list of things you can do today:
1. Be prepared by planning ahead. With your family, plan your evacuation routes. Plan for multiple routes (be prepared for poor or impassable road conditions or nuclear events). Decide on a meeting place away from home in the event you are at work, or away from your family and are unable to return home. Plan how to exit your home if an emergency occurs inside the home.
2. Put together a pet emergency supply kit.
3. Keep a collar and id tag on your pet at all times (including indoor cats – which can escape). Consider micro chipping your pet. A microchip can be scanned and your pet easily identified at a time when a collar or tag may get lost.
4. Keep a list of emergency contacts handy and alternate care contacts for your pets.
5. Know where you can find a pet friendly hotel before disaster strikes.
6. Call 211 when a disaster strikes to find out where your nearest pet friendly shelter is located.
7. Keep your local animal shelter/humane society contact information handy. A pet that is lost may very likely end up at your local shelter.
8. Keep carriers/crates handy and easy to move in the event of a disaster. Always stock the number of carriers/crates for the number of pets you have.
9. Be prepared to be self-sufficient. Shelters may not be operational at the time you need to evacuate, or you may not be able to get to them due to poor or impassable road conditions (in Tropical Storm Irene, many areas were cut-off and isolated).
10. Put together a Pet First Aid kit:
Pet First Aid book
Gauze or vet wrap
Q-tips or longer cotton-tipped applicators
Instant cold pack
Betadine solution for cleansing and disinfecting
Styptic powder or corn starch to stop minor bleeding
**If you bring a reptile to a shelter, bring a heat source, thermometer, your cage, and an extension cord. Consider that many reptiles live on fresh/frozen prey. Plan ahead for this or incorporate baby food (without added sugar or salt) into your emergency pet supply kit. Baby food can be a good substitute for fresh fruits and vegetables for a short period of time when fresh/frozen produce and prey are not available. This items will also store better and longer in your pet emergency supply kit.