Emergency PUParedness Plan: How to Keep your Pets Safe in an Emergency Situation
By Anna Miller, General Manager
Emergency. Fire. Evacuation. These are the last words anybody wants to hear in reference to their home. Home is supposed to be a safe place. A place that contains almost all of what you own and cherish, including your lovable pets! Because of the significance of your home and who lives inside it, it is imperative to prepare for an emergency, especially here in Colorado, where fires are common. This article will give you some simple steps to include your pets in your emergency preparedness plan, so you can do your best to make sure they stay safe.
One of the easiest things you can do to help your pets in an emergency is let fire fighters and police know what animals are inside the house. You can buy stickers to put on your windows or doors that list the number and kinds of animals that live with you. That way if you are not at home in an emergency, emergency personnel will be aware that your pets need help. Amazon sells these stickers here. They are also often available at local pet stores.
Another easy and helpful step is to keep your pet healthy. Talk with your vet to make sure all vaccinations are up to date. Also keep your vet’s contact information and any pet health records in an easy to reach place or even better, scanned to a backup device or email, that way you don’t need to worry about grabbing the information in an emergency! Nowadays, most pets also come with a microchip. If your pet doesn’t have one, this is another thing your vet can help with. Keep the information attached to the microchip up to date. If you are unable to get a microchip for your pet, keep tags on their collars that have your current contact information.
You can also create an animal evacuation kit in case you have advanced warning of an evacuation. Put anything your pet would need for at least 3 days in the kit. If you have a larger animal you can put all of the supplies in their crate for easy transportation, otherwise any box or bag that can fit all of the supplies will do. Remember bowls, meds, poop bags/litter box, carrier/crate with bedding if needed, food and water (this needs to be checked every few years so it doesn’t expire), and microchip information. It is also very helpful to keep notes on any behavior issues or unusual dietary needs in case you are separated from your pet for a while. Here is an example of an animal evacuation kit checklist from the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.
Lastly, use your connections! Talk to your family and friends about if any of them would be willing to take your beloved pet in an emergency situation. You can give them copies of vet contacts, health records, behavior notes, and let them know where your animal evacuation kit is located.
All of these simple steps can help make a big difference for your pets in an emergency and gives you more peace of mind! For more information, click on the Animal Plan tab on the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management website.
Pictured above: Zoology Foundation residents and staff participated in a fire evacuation drill this fall. Each small animal has a crate labeled with their information and temperament. Larger animals have evacuation areas in their enclosures for easy trailer loading.
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