As Hurricane Sandy approaches the East Coast of the United States, many residents are preparing to evacuate. One of the most common reasons that people do not evacuate during a natural disaster despite warnings and direct orders from authorities is because a pet is in the home and they cannot evacuate with their pet. Officials have no idea how many people in New Orleans perished in 2005 because they could not evacuate with their pets and refused to leave without them.
Make a commitment now to take your pets with you if you have to evacuate your home during a natural disaster. If conditions are unsafe for humans then they are unsafe for your pets. Be prepared to evacuate quickly with your pets. Being well-prepared can save your pet’s life and your own life. Make sure you have an emergency supply kit for your pets. Click here for a list of items that should be in your pet evacuation kit and pet first aid kit.
These are just a few of the things to think about when developing your evacuation plan:
- Outside your home, your pets should always be transported in carriers. Make sure your carrier has your pet’s name, your contact information and your vet’s phone number on it.
- Make sure you have copies of your pet’s medical records to take with you if you evacuate. If your pet is not properly vaccinated, organizations that are caring for evacuated pets will not take your pet. If your pet accidentally bites someone, proof of rabies vaccination may save your pet’s life.
- Your pet should have a collar with identification and their rabies tag attached.
- Include a photo of your pet with the items you will take with you. This will be helpful if your pet becomes separated from you.
- Do you have a place to go if you have to evacuate? Will your pet be able to stay with you at that location? Do not leave your pet anywhere within the hurricane strike zone even if there is a pet care facility willing to take your pet. If you have more than one pet, be prepared to leave them at separate locations in case one facility is unable to take all of your pets.
- Don’t forget that your pets may need special care and attention after the disaster. If you have evacuated them to a location away from your home, walk them on a leash until they become reoriented to their normal surroundings. Monitor their behavior – some pets may become aggressive or defensive after a disaster.
Click here for information from Best Friends Animal Society on keeping your pets safe if you are in the path of a hurricane. This article also includes links to other disaster preparedness resources for families and pets.