ViviPet | How to Evacuate with a Pet During an Emergency

ViviPet | How to Evacuate with a Pet During an Emergency

ViviPet | How to Evacuate with a Pet During an Emergency

 It is very fundamental to know what you should have in preparation for a potential emergency situation with your pet. You also must know how to react when an actual emergency happens. An emergency situation often comes without any prior notice. While some people are often prone to emergencies such as floods and hurricanes others are exposed to potential house fires, tornadoes or earthquakes.  A crises situation is likely to take place without prior notice. In case your house catches fires, or gets flooded what is it that you must do to quickly evacuate your dog, cat or any other pet? Some insightful thoughts from pet safety professionals are shared.

Evacuation with your pet

If your house catches fire hence necessitating immediate evacuation, you must have a comprehensive emergency plan that includes the pet. Julian, a college student, was awoken by firefighters who were responding to an emergency call concerning a burning house. The house was directly adjacent to hers and the firefighters were concerned that her house would also catch fire. Luckily, for Julian, she had kept some cages in her closet. She quickly put her dog and cat into the cages and swiftly moved them outside. The pets were in panic mode packed on one corner of the house. She was able to get them out of a potentially dangerous situation. Had the pets not been evacuated in good time the chaos and commotion around the fire would have put them at greater risk.

Some safety experts suggest that a pet safety alert should be struck in close proximity to the exit door. If an emergency happens and the house occupants leave without their pets, the safety alert will trigger some alarm. It is advised though that you shouldn’t return for the pets. The right thing to do is to inform the firefighters that there are pets inside. The firefighters are trained experts in evacuation and they should be able to help. Even if a safety official promises you that your pet will be safe, never abandon your pet even if the evacuation is temporary. The ensuing situation can extend the evacuation into weeks or months before anyone is allowed back.

Getting pets into their carrier safely during emergencies

Some pets will instinctively go into hiding whenever dangerous situations happen. The best scenario is where a pet is well trained to get into their carrier when disaster strikes. Most pets will, however, associate the carrier with their vet and are, therefore, unlikely to get into them. A clever way of getting the pet into their carrier is to get the pet into a pillowcase. Afterward, you can slide the pet into their carrier and move to a safe location. Proper training for the pet is much better. It is recommended that the pet should be trained to move into a safe room or into their carrier in case of disaster.

Alarms are common during emergencies. The pet might not hear your instruction when it is noisy. It is, therefore, recommended that you train your pet to understand whistle commands. If the pet is in a dangerous place where you cannot access you can whistle a command aimed at rescuing them. A pet owner must also be prepared with adequate knowledge of where they should drive for safety. It is important to have several alternative locations. One safe location may not be accessible hence the necessity to have several alternative safe locations. If you are calm during an emergency your pet will most likely be calm as well. Pets will mimic your emotions.

Juliet, a young mother had to quickly evacuate with her only child, Bryan, when her oven burst into flames triggering the evacuation alarm. She had no time for her rough Collie dog. Flames were quickly building up before the firefighters arrived. Luckily the dog was well trained to respond to voice commands. She only had to call the pet out. The situation was not the same for Steve who had no way of calling out his Golden Retriever dog when it got stranded inside a sewer pipe.  Steve had to request special assistance from Downtown New York pet emergency responders. Were it not for the swiftness of the team his dog would be no more. 

Proactivity during an emergency

When there are enough warnings about an ensuing disaster such as flash floods, a hurricane or hostile temperatures (excessively hot or cold weather) you should proactively prepare for that. One way of overcoming the disaster is by taking a few days’ vacation elsewhere with your pets. A short vacation may not require many supplies. You will only need a few days’ supplies of food and water as well as a small litter bag. The place you are evacuating to most likely have groceries or restaurants. You need to check with your emergency shelter to know whether they accept pets. You should only evacuate to hotels that are pet-friendly. It is advisable to make prior reservations because such facilities are almost always filled to capacity. Make your reservation upon making the decision to evacuate. In the interest of alleviating infections, most shelters require some immunization proof. It is important to keep records of your pet’s immunization and carry them with you alongside the evacuation kit.

Put identification on your pet

It is crucial for your pet to have an engraved name tag and a recent rabies tag on them. The tag should contain important contact details like the phone number, and probably an address. Should the pet get separated from you, you will have an easy time finding them. Microchips are new identification innovation technologies that make tracing a lost pet much easier. A vet should be able to implant a chip on your pet. The chip should be registered and any changes on contact information should be communicated to the registry. For the pets that do not microchips, take a picture of them and save it on your computer or cell phone for the purpose of identification.

Mike, a pet fanatic, from New Orleans had 3 dogs, a cat, and a parrot. During hurricane Katrina, Mike was lucky enough to evacuate with his 3 dogs and his cat. He absolutely forgot about the parrot until after he had arrived in the evacuation center. Luckily, for him, he had put a tag on the parrot with his emergency contacts. After months of searching a family from Alabama gave him a call informing him that they had found his Parrot.

Evacuation Kit

Every pet ought to have a go-bag and a carrier kit. The go bag should contain everything the pet might need during an evacuation. Emergency items should be placed inside a robust container that allows for easy mobility. An emergency checklist should be attached below the evacuation kit. Make some notes on any medication, water, and food replacements. Replacements should be done after six months.

What an emergency kit should have:

  • Medication: A pet might require some maintenance medication. In such instances inquire from your vet about the medical supplies required. You might need some powdered medication or pills, or some unfilled prescription drug in the evacuation paperwork.
  • Pet photos: The photos should go alongside pet description details such as its sex, age, markings, and color.
  • Carrier for each pet: The carrier should have ample space for the pet to turn and stand up easily while inside. The floor of the carrier should be lined with pads. Use a permanent marker to write your contact information on this carrier. The pet photo should also be duct taped on the carrier.
  • Pet’s vaccination and medication records: In case any disaster happens in the vet’s clinic you might lose all your pets records. To avoid this keep veterinary records in the emergency kit while moving across states.
  • Contact information: The contact details may include phone numbers to an emergency clinic, pet-friendly hotels, veterinarian, animal shelter, and the pet’s center for poison control.
  • City license and duplicate ownership papers for your pet
  • Water: Have a gallon of water for every pet each day.
  • Pet food: Have sufficient supply to last for the period of time necessary. Wet food should be kept in airtight small cans or pouches. They should keep the food good especially when you are in a place without refrigeration.
  • Water and food bowls
  • Poop bags, litter scoop, and litter box. Aluminum pans can be used as litter boxes because they are disposable.

First aid kit for the pet: The first aid kit should contain the following:

  • Hydrogen peroxide: For use in case the pet ingests a toxic substance.
  • Antibiotic ointment: In case the pet sustains some scratch or cut.
  • Rubber gloves, adhesive tape, scissors and gauze
  • Blanket
  • Ice pack
  • Cotton swabs or balls
  • Antiseptic lotion, spray or powder
  • Flashlight
  • Medication


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