Pet Evacuation Safety Tips

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In light of the recent fires in Southern California it has come to my attention that I should have an emergency evacuation plan for my dogs. One of our readers sent us a link to an LA Times article that lists a few safety precautions to help prepare us and our pets for a disaster evacuation. Here’s the list from the LA Times article: Southland wildfires: When pets must be evacuated:

Pet Evacuation Safety Tips

Disaster officials recommend that you put together an emergency preparedness plan specifically for your pets. Various organizations such as Homeland Security, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the American Red Cross recommend the following:

  • Prepare a pet emergency supply kit. In watertight containers, pack at least three days of food and water for each pet and include medicine and veterinary records, first aid kit, collars with ID tags, a harness or leash, a crate or a pet carrier, and sanitation supplies such as plastic bags, disinfectants and paper towels.
  • Preselect shelter sites and resources. Prepare a list of phone numbers of local animal shelters and hotels and motels that take pets. Include the names and numbers of friends or family who can temporarily care for the pets. Have a buddy system with a good neighbor who would be willing to check on your animals in case you’re not home.
  • At first warning of an evacuation, act quickly. Bring pets into the house so you don’t have to look for them if you must leave quickly. Try to call ahead to arrange emergency shelter for your pet. Make sure your dog or cat has current identification.
  • If pets must be left behind … alert local animal control and, if necessary, give animal control officers permission — and keys — to enter your home to rescue the pets.

One other point I remember hearing/seeing/reading somewhere was that you should have a pet emergency card on your refrigerator alerting rescue officials of the pets in your house, their names, and any additional information. This can be very important information as I’m sure many animals would hide from:

  • A firefighter in full uniform
  • A stranger
  • When scared by natural disasters (fires, earthquakes, hurricanes…etc.)

If rescue officials know that their are two cats and two dogs in the house then they could look for all four pets.

Does anyone else have helpful pet evacuation safety tips?

We also recently experienced the horrible earthquakes and tsunami’s in Japan and the horrific aftermath.  If you’re looking for some more information on safety then take a look at our article on Earthquake Safety Tips For Your Pets.

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  1. I needed the list reminder. My Daughter uses an old backpack and fills it with the animal emergency supplies you mentioned. Each animal should have one backpack. This will be on my New Year’s resolution list! TY

  2. @Marisa, my last puppy, Stetson was lucky enough to meet an Arson dog and his handler. She wasn’t in a full firefighter uniform, but was wearing her office uniform.

    Neither of my dogs have met a firefighter in full uniform. I think it’s a good idea to try and get Derby some exposure to people in uniform. I know in the past our group has visited the fire station. Maybe it’s something I’ll suggest to our group leader.

    Around Halloween Derby saw plenty of people in costumes and did great. He saw a giant Eeyore at the office and at first was excited to go see him and started pulling the leash to go over. Once he got to Eeyore he didn’t want to see him anymore. We worked with Derby and slowly he built up the courage to sniff around and hang out with Eeyore. It kind of reminded me of a little kid excited to see his favorite Disney character then once he has the chance to say hello suddenly becomes shy.

    Thanks for the last tips. I got out of the habit of working on the crate with one of my three dogs, but just recently have been using it now and then so he won’t have a difficult time if I need to put him back in his crate

  3. Do you socialize your guide-dogs-in-training to/ with people in uniform? We’ve done a pretty good job of socializing our pup to regular people in all forms (hats, skin colors, crazy outfits, sunglasses, beards, jackets, etc), but it occurs to me that we should probably get him some exposure to firefighters and policemen. I’m certain he would hide or otherwise be terrified if approached by a firefighter, simply because of the uniform. And while we don’t have occasion to have cops come to our door, I’d hate for the uniform to scare him… in a stressful situation, one less thing to worry about seems like a good idea.

    I’d add: have at least one carrier per animal, easily accessible (who has time to unearth a carrier from the mess in the basement in an emergency) and practice crating your animals, cats included. I need to do this more, but giving treats to animals in an open carrier/ crate during normal times would certainly be helpful in stressful times.

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