Emergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe, so the best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared. Here are simple steps you can follow now to make sure you’re ready before the next disaster strikes:
Step 1: Get a Rescue Alert Sticker
This easy-to-use sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers (we recommend placing it on or near your front door), and that it includes the types and number of pets in your home as well as the name and number of your veterinarian. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers. To get a free emergency pet alert sticker for your home, please fill out our online order form and allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Your local pet supply store may also sell similar stickers.
Step 2: Arrange a Safe Haven
Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:
Step 3: Choose "Designated Caregivers”
This step will take considerable time and thought. When choosing a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your residence. He or she should be someone who is generally home during the day while you are at work or has easy access to your home. A set of keys should be given to this trusted individual. This may work well with neighbors who have pets of their own—you may even swap responsibilities, depending upon who has accessibility.
When selecting a permanent caregiver, you’ll need to consider other criteria. This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something should happen to you. When selecting this “foster parent,” consider people who have met your pet and have successful cared for animals in the past. Be sure to discuss your expectations at length with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet.
Step 4: Prepare Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits
If you must evacuate your home in a crisis, plan for the worst-case scenario. Even if you think you may be gone for only a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced, follow the instructions of local and state officials. To minimize evacuation time, take these simple steps:
You should also have an emergency kit for the human members of the family. Items to include: Batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication and copies of medical and insurance information.
Geographic Considerations: If you live in an area that is prone to certain natural disasters, such as tornadoes, earthquakes or floods, you should plan accordingly and always evacuate early.
Special Considerations for Horses
Special Considerations for Birds
Special Considerations for Reptiles
Special Considerations for Small Animals
There are unique considerations for horses and other livestock during a disaster. Preparing ahead of time and acting quickly are the best ways to keep you and your animals—pets and livestock—out of danger. Protect your whole family when emergencies arise with the proper supplies, veterinary information, animal identification and an evacuation plan that has been practiced. Whether the threat is a hurricane, wildfire or other disaster, lives may depend on being ready.
Equine and livestock evacuation can be challenging. Develop an evacuation plan in advance and make sure animals are familiar with being loaded onto a trailer. Locate and prearrange an evacuation site for your animals outside your immediate area. Possible sites include:
If you do not have enough trailers to quickly transport all of your animals to an evacuation site, contact neighbors, local haulers, farmers, producers or other transportation providers to establish a network of available and reliable resources that can provide transportation in the event of a disaster.
If evacuation of horses/livestock is impossible, relocate them to the safest place possible based on the type of imminent disaster and the environment, realizing that the situation could be life threatening. Make sure they have access to hay or another appropriate and safe food source, as well as clean water and the safest living area possible, including high ground above flood level. Do not rely on automatic watering systems, because power may be lost.
The decision to leave your horses/livestock in the field or in the barn should be based on the risks of injury resulting from the disaster and from the immediate environment during that disaster. Factors to consider include the stability of the barn, the risk of flooding and the amount of trees and debris in the fields. If time permits, secure or remove all outdoor objects that could turn into dangerous flying debris.
Be sure to include birds in your disaster plans. Plastic poultry transport crates/coops work well for transporting chickens if evacuation is necessary. Vehicle interiors should be warmed in winter or cooled in summer before transporting birds.
Transfer birds to more suitable housing as soon as possible to facilitate feeding and watering. Line crates or cages with shavings or other absorbent material for ease of cleaning. At the evacuation site, house birds away from noisy areas and other flocks, and protect them from the weather and predators.
Additional contacts for equine and livestock owners
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