Katrina, Ike and Gustav are more than just names to those whose homes and families were devastated by these destructive storms. Even with the aid of disaster response teams, many evacuees permanently lost their companion animals. As hurricane season 2009 heats up, the message couldn’t be clearer—you can help prevent losing your pet by putting emergency evacuation plans into place.
The ASPCA would like to offer a sneak peak at six steps to follow BEFORE you’re faced with evacuation. To read our complete list in English and Spanish, visit the Disaster Preparedness section of our website.
- Get a Rescue Alert Sticker
Affix these decals, free on the ASPCA website, to the windows of your home to alert rescue officials that a pet lives inside.
- Arrange a Safe Haven
Don’t leave your pet behind if you’re forced to evacuate. Find out if there are emergency animal shelters in your area. If not, take these steps to keep your pet safe.
- Pre-Pack Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits
Prepare an Evac-Pack and pet supplies before emergency strikes, and make sure that everyone in the family knows where they are. The kit should be clearly labeled, easy to carry and should include items such as a pet first aid kit, recent photos of your animal companion and food and water bowls. Read a more complete list of items to include.
- Choose A Designated Caregiver
Take time to consider who you’d like to act as your pet’s temporary caregiver should you not make it home in time to retrieve your pet. Ask yourself these questions: is the person home often enough to care for your pet, do they have a key to your residence and have they spent time getting to know your animal companion?
- Have an Evacuation Plan in Place
Plan for the worst-case scenario. Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible, make sure all of your pets are wearing proper identification and consider your evacuation route ahead of time.
- Know Your Region’s Weather Patterns
If you live in an area that is prone to natural catastrophes, such as tornadoes, earthquakes or floods, know which rooms in your house can be used as safe havens, store up a supply of fresh water in advance and, in the event of an emergency, keep your pets with you, even crating them for safety and comfort.Visit the Disaster Preparedness section of our website for a more complete list of emergency planning tips and to download the Ready Pets brochure on pet-friendly evacuation (pdf).