Emergency Pet Prepardeness Plan: Are you READY for a disaster?

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Originally published Oct. 2008, reposted Oct. 2012

Pet Disaster Plan

For many Californians’ natural disasters such as earthquakes and fires are realities. In July 2008, So Cal was rocked by the 5.4 Chino Hills earthquake and who can forget the 2010 Mexicali 7.2 earthquake. Each October California has the Great ShakeOut, a drill geared toward earthquake preparedness. If you would like to participate in the ShakeOut drill, the event will be on Oct. 18, 2012.

In efforts to get you ready for an earthquake or fire emergency, this will guide you in supplies needed, a few tips, and refer you to resources for more detailed information.

Essential pet emergency supplies

{3-7 days worth of supplies is recommended}

Dog air pollution mask
Dog air pollution mask

Dog air pollution mask: This mask is specifically made for small to extra large dogs. This dog mask will help protect your dog against smoke and ash from fires. Replacement face mask filters available. I have a Face Mask for myself as well.

Water: At least 1 gallon per person for consumption and cleaning.

Food: Unopened bags will be best for storage purposes. Make a note on a calendar or a reminder on your cell phone calendar to replenish food items and check expiration dates.

Pet bowls: bring your dog bowls or cat bowls. To learn why lead-free bowls are important, read my blog about lead free cat bowl and dog bowls.

Pet emergency supply kit: Pet first aid kits come in traditional and homeopathic versions. For a list of specifics needed for cats, dogs, horses, and reptiles & amphibians, please see UAN’s EARS program.

Generator: If you don’t have to evacuate, having a portable generator or back up home generator may be essential if the electric company cuts of the power in your area. The difference between the two is a portable generator is something you have to start yourself. However, the whole house generator is a backup generator that automatically kicks in when the power goes out.

Leash: Have an extra one in case of a break or you need to help another pet.

Pet identification: Whether you use a pet ID tag, microchip, flash drive or GPS system to identify your pet, please make sure you keep this information update to date and SECURED to your pet at all times.

Kennel: A dog crate or cat carrier is a great tool for pets who are upset by the events. They can be helpful with other small pets such as birds too.

Blanket: Good for keeping small pets warm.

Towel: To scoop up a scared cat or wipe down your pet’s paws.

Medical supplies: Records and medicine (prescription, flea treatment, vitamins, and so forth).

Pictures: Recent prints or digital pictures will be helpful in the event you & your pet are separated. Current clients can tag themselves in pictures on our Facebook or Instagram page to get current pictures of their pets.

Toys: Bring their favorite stuffed animal, ball, or chew toy. This will keep them occupied and with familiar things around them, it should help them feel at ease.

Toiletries: poop bags, kitty litter, hand wash, and towels.

Garbage bags: Use for clean up, a tarp, or rain poncho.

Important phone numbers: Make a list of numbers to 1) animal hospitals 2) pet-friendly lodging 3) animal control or rescue organizations 4) shelters. Find places in your immediate area as well as a 150-mile radius should you need to evacuate your home or it becomes uninhabitable.

Other critical disaster supplies

Cash: Make sure to have some cash at your fingertips as ATM’s might not be working. Some singles are a good idea in the event you need to buy something and no one has any change.

Gas: Fill & store a gas can in a safe place. Another option would be to make it a rule to never allow your car to be below ½ a tank.

Radio & Flashlight: Make sure you have plenty of fresh batteries.

Tools: Devices like a wrench may come in handy in case you need to turn on & off gas or water lines in your home.

Carrying device: If you have to keep a lot of items with you while on foot, a wagon or cart would come in handy.

Sturdy shoes/boots: Sorry this is not a time that will be ideal for flip flops.

Road maps & directions: You may not have Internet access to look up directions and roads may be closed.

•?Deck of cards: You can use this to mark a trail to and from your location.

Other Tips

Transportation: If you need to take a cab in NY, I was informed a cab driver may not turn you down during times of evacuation. Hopefully, that applies here in San Diego County.

Shelter: Some evacuation centers are accepting pets. However, they may have them segregated to a different area to accommodate those with pet allergies. Please bring your pets in on a leash or in a carrier.

Important Documents: Copies of ID and insurance policy should be kept in a waterproof container/safe. Other options are scan copies to put on a flash drive and/or make copies to send them to an emergency contact. Finally, take a video of your possessions. If you have to make a claim you will need something to jog your memory. It may also serve as proof to satisfy your insurance company during a claim.

Food/Water: Replace your kit supplies every few months to ensure freshness. To help you remember this important task, make a note on the calendar or set a reminder on a digital calendar.

Stress: Pets are sensitive to stress. ***Remember pets can become confused or disoriented, so proceed with caution when approaching unfamiliar pets.***

Pet window decal: These let emergency personnel know you have a pet inside your home. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers.

Supply location: Make sure you keep the supplies somewhere accessible and won’t be covered by a collapse (garage may not be the best idea).

Here are a few examples of how I am practicing emergency preparedness

In a folding shopping cart I have:

Water: I use a water purifier and store filtered water in reusable bottles.

Food: For myself: Fruit and food bars. Now there is no need for cooking or carrying cooking tools with me. For my dog, sealed dog food.

Air Quality: I have a Face Mask for myself and an air purifier to eliminate all the dust, dirt, dander etc… that will be floating around.

Emergency kit: people and pet combo.

Pet supplies: pet food (never opened, to stay fresh), several leashes, blankets, towels, medicals records, toys, medicine, poop bags, brush, and list of pet-friendly hotels are all stored in a backpack.

Pictures: Many current pic’s of my dog are stored on my cell phone. For homeowners, take pictures of your home & belongings as proof in the event you have to file an insurance claim.

Phone numbers: Animal Control, Animal Hospitals, American Red Cross, and CA Evacuation hotline phone numbers are stored in my cell phone.

Clothes: Several sets of clothes stored in a rolling luggage bag, next to my folding shopping cart.

**Trying to decide what to take with you and packing could take upwards of 2 hours. Please do not wait until the last minute as sometimes you have no warning and no time to prepare.***

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