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While we don’t have hurricanes in the Southwest, we do know firsthand the inherent dangers associated with storms – particularly when dealing with pets. We wanted to remind that disaster can strike at any time and offer some tips on pet safety during hurricanes and evacuation during a natural disaster. Whether it's a disaster related to wind, fire, water or land - you can never be too prepared.

After Hurricane Katrina, a Zogby poll found that 61 percent of pet owners would not evacuate if they could not bring their pets with them. In 2006, Congress addressed this issue by passing the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act. The PETS Act authorizes FEMA to provide rescue, care, shelter, and essential needs for individuals with household pets and service animals, and to the household pets and animals themselves following a major disaster or emergency. It is crucial that all pet owners research their community’s existing human and pet evacuation plans and contact local government agencies if plans aren't publicly available.

Natural disasters rarely give us much notice to prepare, which is why it’s important to have a plan. If you have pets, it’s doubly important. If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfire, tsunamis, volcanoes or earthquake, or flooding, then it’s time to download all of your pets information to a flash drive and make sure you have created a Bug Out Bag for your pets, know the process of evacuating, and develop a family plan in case one of you is a away from home during the emergency.

Evacuate

  • When you are told to evacuate, EVACUATE! Risks include losing your lives as well as losing future assistance when conditions worsen.
  • Take  all of your pets. This includes horses, ferrets, birds, tarantulas as well as your dogs and cats. A pet includes any animal you feed and house.
  • Make sure each individual crate/carrier is large enough for the pet to stand and lie down comfortably.
  • Grab the following:
    • Bug-out Bag
    • Map of area
    • List of shelters that accept animals

Each dog, cat, critter, reptile, bird or other pet should have:

(If you have more than one animal, keep a flash drive handy with scanned photos of records – it’s easier to carry and you’ll have all of your information in one place).

  • All vaccinations
  • Microchips
  • Veterinary records
  • Documentation of ownership
  • Recent pictures>
  • Coggins tests

Your Horse should have:

  • Registration/ownership papers
  • Veterinary records & Medical records
  • Coggins tests
  • Identification photos
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Office: Because this is where I spend most of my time.
  • Coggins tests

 

Your Pets “Bug-Out-Bag” should include:

  • A crate
  • 3 - 5 day supply of:
    • Medication
    • Food
    • Water
  • Records:
    • A laminated copy of your pets ID and vaccination records
    • A laminated photo of your pets (front, side, rear view)
  • Extra collar & leash and harness
  • Collapsible food bowl and water bowl
  • Extra blanket
  • Optional items that will help your pets:
    • Extra toys
    • Picture of pet with your name& contact information
    • Natural calming supplements/pheromones to calm pets
    • Basic first aid kit
    • Small garbage bags
    • Collapsible litter tray and extra litter in sealed container (for cats)#mce_temp_url#

Natural disasters rarely give us much notice to prepare, which is why it’s so important to have a plan. If you have pets, it’s doubly important. If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, tornados, wildfire, tsunamis, volcanoes or earthquake, or flooding, then it’s time to create your pet’s Bug Out Bag and a family plan in case you’re away from your home.

Creating a Family Plan in case you're away from home:

  • Download this easy-to-create Family Emergency Plan from FEMA.
  • Create your evacuation route and plan: I.e., we evacuate in anything over category two, but shelter in place when it is under that.
  • Know where you will meet in case of emergency
  • Identify who is in charge of picking up the pets and transporting
  • Create an overall plan: Pet-friendly hotel, shelter, personal shelter
  • List two ways you will communicate with your family in the event of emergency
  • Identify neighbors you can rely on to remove your pets to safe zones if you’re unable too
For information on evacuating livestock in a disaster, please refer to this free worksheet on the steps to take from the HSUS. It is available for download here.
 

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stacymantle
Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.


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