Each year, thousands of pets become displaced from natural disasters. The early warning sirens go off, the phone rings or your television program is interrupted, informing you about a pending emergency. You have seconds to spare before disaster strikes, so you frantically gather your family, important paperwork and belongings. You evacuate, and you're miles away before you realize someone forgot to grab the dog or cat. Don't be caught unprepared when the next disaster strikes your community. Create a disaster plan for your family, and be sure to include your pet.
Surviving a disaster, such as a hurricane, fire, flood or tornado depends on emergency planning done today. Preparing for an emergency, like putting together a pet emergency supply kit, researching pet friendly shelters and planning evacuation routes, are the same for every disaster. Whether you decide to hunker down during an emergency or evacuate, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Remember, what's best for you is typically what's best for your pets.
If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own, and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.
If you are going to a shelter, it is important to understand that local and state health and safety regulations do not permit pets in some disaster shelters, however, service animals are allowed in Red Cross shelters. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider family or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets during an emergency.