Pet disaster plan?

Question:

I just got a new dog and would like to include her in our family’s disaster readiness plan. What do I need to know?

Answer:

Animals are an integral part the family and absolutely need to be included in one’s disaster preparedness plan. Studies have been shown that people are reluctant to evacuate if they can not take their animals. This hinders first responders and is an unneeded risk to you and your loved ones. Inclusion of animals is now part of most counties’ disaster plans.

Your plan needs to minimally include:

1. Identification – Microchip your animal. Most shelters have scanners that read the microchips. Properly fitting collars with name and phone numbers.

2. Current color photo, microchip number, and vaccine records–keep with your emergency supplies. These are vital if the animals need to be housed in temporary shelters. If your pet becomes lost, these will also help in the search to find them.

3. A buddy system with friends and neighbors. If you are not home when a disaster hits, it is important that a neighbor knows how to take your pets with them if need be and how they will be able to reach you afterwards.

4. A first aid kit. Double check to include any special medications/diets your pets are on.

5. A list of hotels, motels, family, and friends that will take you and your pets in if temporary shelter is needed.