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Create a Disaster Plan for Your Pets

Author: ServiceMaster Restore

When a disaster strikes, your furry family members are going to need your help to stay safe. Once you’ve made a family emergency plan to prepare for the unexpected, use these tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore to protect your pets, too.

Pet disaster preparedness: What you can do to keep them safe

In the event of a fire, flood, hurricane, or another natural disaster, we know just how important it is to keep our families safe. Luckily, many disasters are suspected before they strike, and warnings and evacuation measures are issued by authorities in advance of terrible storms. If you have enough time to bring your beloved pets with you while you seek shelter, it could mean all the difference between life and death. Use these steps to keep your animals safe from danger in the event that a disaster hits your community.

1. Microchip your pet.

A microchip is an easy, affordable way to keep your pet's identification on him or her at all times. Even if an ID tag is lost or forgotten, it only takes a quick swipe with a microchip reader to determine your pet's name and your contact information. After your pet is microchipped, make sure to keep your phone number, address, and other chip information updated.

2. Keep a collar and ID tags on your pets at all times.

If you get separated from your animals, a collar or harness with appropriate ID tags can help reunite you after the worst happens. As with microchips, keep your pet’s ID tags updated with the correct information.

3. Identify pet-friendly shelters.

Before disaster strikes, it’s important to seek adequate shelter and possible escape routes that can get you and your family there safely. If you have pets, look for shelters that may take animals, too. Unfortunately, during emergencies, many shelters are unable to accept pets for public health reasons. Research your area to determine boarding shelters or animal shelters that can take your pets while the storm passes, or identify pet-friendly hotels that allow you to take your furry friends with you. If these options don’t work for you, ask a friend or relative who lives out of town to watch your pets until life can get back to normal.

4. Create an emergency kit specifically for your pet.

When prepping for disaster, it’s essential that you have the proper supplies to stay safe if you have to leave home. After you assemble your own emergency preparedness kit, make one for each furry member of the family. A pet emergency preparedness kit should include at least the following items:

  • Food and water to last a minimum of three days
  • Food and water bowls
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Extra collars or harnesses, leashes, and ID tags
  • Pet carriers
  • Photos of your pet for identification
  • Copies of vaccination records stored in a waterproof container
  • Any medications needed
  • Toys and other pet favorites for stress relief
  • Litter supplies for cats

5. Have an evacuation plan.

An evacuation plan will help the whole family feel confident about what they should do if disaster strikes. In your plan, include details about who should be responsible for transporting the pets and grabbing the preparedness kits.

6. Get a Rescue Alert Sticker

Rescue Alert Stickers are available from the ASPCA that you can put on or near your front door. These stickers are meant to alert rescue workers that animals may be stuck inside. You can include information such as the types and number of animals, the name and number of your veterinarian, and your contact information. Once you finish filling it out, place it out front well in advance of an approaching storm. In the fortunate event that you are able to evacuate with your pets later on, you can simply write “EVACUATED” across the sticker so rescue workers know they’re safe.

Remember that if it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’s not safe for your pets, either. If authorities require you to evacuate, you may not know when you can return home and check on your animals. Pets that are left to fare for themselves can easily be injured, lost, or worse. That’s why it’s so crucial to prepare well in advance of a storm to keep yourself, your family, and your beloved pets safe from harm. For more disaster preparedness tips, visit the ServiceMaster Restore blog today.

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