Sixty-two percent of American households have at least one pet and 60% of those with pets consider their pet to be a member of the family. To keep your pets safe in the event of a disaster, include them in your family emergency plan.
1. Have identification. Make sure your pet has ID tags; current tags allow anyone that finds your pet to contact you as soon as possible. In case local phone service is unavailable, consider adding a phone number for a friend that lives in another area or including an email address on the tag. For added security, get your pet fitted with a microchip. The chip cannot fall off and get lost like a tag, and most vets and shelters have chip readers. If you move or change your number, remember to update the tags and microchip information.
2. Find shelter. Local governments are required to offer shelters that allow pets. If you know you may have to evacuate, contact your local emergency management agency to find a shelter where your cat or dog is welcome (most do not accept reptiles, rodents, or livestock).
3. Have a backup. Ask family or friends to be available to help care for your pet if you are unable to return home or must go to work during an emergency. Give them instructions on where you keep your emergency pet supplies and ensure they have access to your home.
4. Take a picture. Keep two current pictures of your pet with your emergency documents: one of your pet alone and one of you with your pet. Having a picture of you with your pet can help if you become separated from your pet and must prove ownership upon reunification. If your pet wanders off during a disaster, pictures make it easier to create missing posters, inquire at shelters, and inform friends on social media.
5. Get a rescue sticker. Place a rescue sticker on a front window of your home so rescue workers know you have pets inside, including how many and what type. If you take your pets with you during an evacuation, write “EVACUATED” on the back of the sticker.
6. Prepare a go-kit. Just like their human companions, pets need supplies if there’s an emergency. The kit should have anything your pet needs and be accessible if someone else will be caring for your pet during the disaster. It is advisable to have a three-day supply of the following items:
ü Food and water
ü Leash with a collar or harness
ü Travel carrier
ü Sanitation supplies (water, paper towels, bleach, cat litter, bags, etc.)
ü Toys and treats
ü Copies of veterinary records
ü Bowls for food and water
Check go-kit supplies periodically to make sure medications and food have not expired and all records are up-to-date.
For more ideas about how to keep your pets safe in an emergency, check out the detailed preparedness tips at the following sites:
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