The following information was developed by the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security in consultation with:
American Kennel Club, The American Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,
American Veterinary Medical Association, and The Humane
Society of the U.S.
You may view and download the full brochure containing
this information by going to:
Your pet is an important member of your
household. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an
emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends
largely on emergency planning done today. Some of the things you can do
to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency
supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any
emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to
a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets.
Keep in mind that what's best for you is typically what's best for your
If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if possible. However, if
you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that
animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter
alternatives that will work for both you and your pets. Make a back-up
emergency plan in case you can't care for your animals yourself. Develop
a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that
someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable
to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make
it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.
Below is a generalized list that will
help you get your pet ready for any type of disaster. Depending on the
type of disaster you may need to make adjustments to your preparations.
Consider two kits. In one, put everything you and your pets will need to
stay where you are. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version
you can take with you if you and your pets have to get away. Plus, be
sure to review your kits regularly to ensure that their contents,
especially foods and medicines, are fresh.
1) Prepare - Get a Pet Emergency
Food. Keep at
least three days of food in an airtight, waterproof container.
Water. Store at
least three days of water specifically for your pets in addition to
water you need for yourself and your family.
Medicines and medical records.
Keep an extra supply of medicines your pet takes on a regular basis
in a waterproof container.
First aid kit.
Talk to your veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your
pet's emergency medical needs. Include a pet first aid reference
Collar with ID tag, harness or leash.
Your pet should wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification
at all times. Include a backup leash, collar and ID tag in your
pet's emergency supply kit. In addition, place copies of your pet's
registration information, adoption papers, vaccination documents and
medical records in a clean plastic bag or waterproof container and
also add them to your kit. You should also consider talking with
your veterinarian about permanent identification such as micro
chipping, and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.
Crate or other pet carrier.
If you need to evacuate in an emergency situation take your pets and
animals with you provided that it is practical to do so. The carrier
should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie
Include pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper
towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach to provide
for your pet's sanitation needs.
A picture of you and your pet
together. If you become separated from your pet
during an emergency, a picture of you and your pet together will
help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in
identifying your pet. Include detailed information about species,
breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
Put favorite toys, treats or bedding in your kit. Familiar items can
help reduce stress for your pet.
2) Plan - What You Will Do in an
Be prepared to assess the situation.
Use whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and ensure
your pet's safety during an emergency. Depending on your
circumstances and the nature of the emergency the first important
decision is whether you stay put or get away. You should understand
and plan for both possibilities. Use common sense and the
information you are learning here to determine if there is immediate
danger. Watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet for
instructions. If you're specifically told to evacuate,
shelter-in-place or seek medical treatment, do so immediately.
Create a plan to get away.
Plan how you will assemble your pets and anticipate where you will
go. If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if practical. If
you go to a public shelter, keep in mind your animals may not be
allowed inside. Secure appropriate lodging in advance depending on
the number and type of animals in your care. Other options may
include: a hotel or motel that takes pets or a boarding facility,
such as a kennel or veterinary hospital that is near an evacuation
facility or your family's meeting place. Find out before an
emergency happens if any of these facilities in your area might be
viable options for you and your pets.
Develop a buddy system.
Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone
is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to
do so. Talk with your pet care buddy about your evacuation plans and
show them where you keep your pet's emergency supply kit. Also
designate specific locations, one in your immediate neighborhood and
another farther away, where you will meet in an emergency.
Talk to your pet's veterinarian about
emergency planning. Discuss the types of things
that you should include in your pet's emergency first aid kit. Get
the names of vets or veterinary hospitals in other cities where you
might need to seek temporary shelter. You should also consider
talking with your veterinarian about permanent identification such
as micro chipping, and enrolling your pet in a recovery database. If
your pet is micro chipped, keeping your emergency contact
information up to date and listed with a reliable recovery database
is essential to your being reunited with your pet.
Gather contact information for
emergency animal treatment. Make a list of
contact information and addresses of area animal control agencies
including the Humane Society or SPCA, and emergency veterinary
hospitals. Keep one copy of these phone numbers with you and one in
your pet's emergency supply kit. Obtain "Pets Inside" stickers and
place them on your doors or windows, including information on the
number and types of pets in your home to alert firefighters and
rescue workers. Consider putting a phone number on the sticker where
you could be reached in an emergency. And, if time permits, remember
to write the words "Evacuated with Pets" across the stickers, should
you flee with your pets.
3) Stay Informed - Know About Types of
Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as
assembling an emergency supply kit for yourself, your family and your
pets, are the same regardless of the type of emergency. However, it's
important to stay informed about what might happen and know what types
of emergencies are likely to affect your region as well as emergency
plans that have been established by your state and local government.
more information about how to prepare, visit
www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY.
Be prepared to adapt this information to your personal circumstances and
make every effort to follow instructions received from authorities on
the scene. With these simple preparations, you can be ready for the
unexpected. Those who take the time to prepare themselves and their pets
will likely encounter less difficulty, stress and worry.
Take the time now to get your
family and your pet ready.
Red Cross: First Aide for Pets
Red Cross: Pets and Disaster
FEMA: Planning for Pets and Livestock
The Humane Society: Disaster Planning for Pets
City of Portsmouth, Virginia - All rights reserved.