Disaster Preparedness

A disaster can strike at any time and preparation is the key. Your animals rely on you to protect them during a disaster or emergency so you want to have an emergency disaster supply kit and plan ready for you and your pets in case a disaster strikes. Being prepared is the key—if it means sheltering in place, a brief absence from your home, or permanent evacuation, you want to be prepared.

Here are some steps to get your pets prepared

  1. Microchip all your pets, and license all dogs, and make sure that your contact information is up-to-date.
  2. Get Rescue Alert Stickers (from the ASPCA) to let people and rescue workers know that you have pets inside your home. BUT DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND!
  3. Make arrangements for a safe place for your pets to be housed (in advance!)—Boarding kennels, hotels and motels that take pets, veterinarians often have boarding facilities, or friends and relatives, in the event of an evacuation. Again, DO NOT abandon your pets!
  4. Choose a caregiver for your pets if you don’t make it home in time from work—give them a key, make arrangements in advance for them to care for your pets and transport them to your designated “safe place.” Make sure they know where your pets hiding places are, if any—and that they agree on the responsibility. Plan now.
  5. Create an Emergency Kit for your pets that you can pick up quickly and go. You can use a big backpack, duffle bag, or suitcase. Include pet food (wet and dry); medications; pet first aid kit; photos of all the pets; litter pan and litter; etc. Make sure everyone in the family knows where it is. Keep it ready-to-go by or near a door that you would leave through.

Here is a list of emergency supplies to include in your “Go Bag:”

  • Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include)
  • 7-14 days’ worth of canned (remember can opener) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Litter, newspaper, or paper toweling
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean up
  • Pet feeding dishes & water bowls
  • Extra harness and leash (Note: harnesses are recommended for safety and security)
  • Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless.)
  • Bottled water, at least 7-14 days’ worth for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
  • A crate or sturdy carrier; one for each pet
  • Flashlight & wind up radio for news
  • Blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet)
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
  • Especially for cats: Pillowcase or EvacSak, toys, scoopable litter
  • Especially for dogs: Long leash and yard stake, toys and chew toys, a week’s worth of cage liner.

Pet first aid classes

Contra Costa Animal Services provides Pet First Aid and CPR classes for pets. Contact the Animal Services Humane Education Department at 925-335-8340, or you can email humaneeducation@asd.cccounty.us. The Pet First Aid & CPR classes are sponsored by Contra Costa Animal Services Department, CART (County Animal Response Team), and the Lamorinda DART (Disaster Animal Response Team) organization.

Other links to pet emergency resources and checklists:

Contra Costa Animal Services: http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=852
FEMA: http://www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/animals.shtm
CDC: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/petprotect.asp
HSUS: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/disaster_preparedness_pets.html
Ready America: http://www.ready.gov/america/toolkit_pets/index.html
Partnership for Animal Welfare: http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_EmergencyPlanning.php
Pet Disaster Plan: http://www.petdisasterplan.com/