An evacuation plan is a necessity for every home. No matter where you live, you’ll have some natural disaster that you’ll need to be prepared for, whether it’s earthquakes, fires, or hurricanes. Many homeowners create evacuation plans for their homes and practice them with their kids (if you don’t have an evacuation plan yet, take some time to put one in place. Ready.gov has some great resources to help!), but far fewer have considered one for their pets. Take these steps to add your pets to your evacuation plan, and you’ll ensure that everyone stays safe, including the furrier family members!
(Like in some of my previous pet-related posts, I’ll use this opportunity to pepper in a bunch of pictures of Briggs!)
Assign Pet Evacuation to an Adult
In your evacuation plan, everyone should have defined responsibilities, and that includes assigning one parent or adult to the pets. This allows the other members of the household to focus on their parts of the evacuation plan, so there’s no confusion during a high-stress moment when time is of the essence. When everyone is on the same page about who will take care of what, there will be a lot less panic, and the entire evacuation will move more smoothly.
Keep Evacuation Maps and Pet Carriers Readily Accessible
When you need to evacuate, you should know exactly where every important item is. Many homes have a “go bag” with essentials that are readily accessible in the event of an emergency. You should have something similar for your pets. A spare leash, collapsible food and water bowls, and some treats or food in a bag near the door can save precious minutes while you’re getting out. If you pets require carriers, keep them in a place that you can access easily.
Practice Your Plan
Include your pets in your home evacuation drills. It’ll help you see how they will respond and make changes to your plan if necessary. Getting your dog out of a window may not be as simple as you think! Just like anything else, the more you practice, the easier it will be when it comes time to act. And in an emergency situation, being able to react quickly is paramount.
Be Prepared in Case You Get Separated From Your Pets
No matter how much you drill your evacuation plan, it’s possible that a dog or cat will run off while you’re focusing on keeping your family safe. A microchip or a GPS-compatible tag can help you find your pets once it’s safe to return to the area. If you have your pet chipped, make sure the contact information is up to date. Otherwise, if someone does bring your pet to the vet, they won’t be able to get in touch with you to know that he has been found safe. While it may be difficult to get your pet on a leash during the evacuation, if you can get them leashed as soon as you are safely outside, it will go a long way into ensuring that they stay safe and by your side.
Do any of you have a pet evacuation plan? What other tips do you have?