Ensure Your Pet's Well-Being in an Emergency Situation

On any given day, watching the news, it's easy to see how quickly things can happen. House fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods. Most people, particularly those who live in areas at high risk for disaster such as near a river, in a tornado hotspot, or in fire-prone zones, prepare carefully for such possibilities. What many people don't consider is what to do about their pets in an emergency.

So what will happen to your pets in case of emergency? We can't plan for every contingency, but there are certain things you can do to ensure your pet's well-being in the event of a crisis.

- Make sure to obtain a pet rescue sticker for your windows or door. Pet rescue stickers alert rescue teams to the presence of your pets in the event of an emergency. These stickers, usually bright red for visibility, allow you to check off what type of pet you have, from birds to cats and dogs, and the number of pets in your residence. Put the sticker in a prominent location where any rescue personnel will be sure to see if should the occasion arise.

- Let neighbors know you have pets. If you aren't home in a time of emergency, someone should know that there are pets that may need assistance.

- For those living in apartments or other rental properties, let the management office know about your pets. Many rental companies require emergency contact information from renters. Often this includes number and type of pets at your residence. Fill it out and make sure to notify the management office if there are any changes.

- Keep pet carriers or a collar and leash handy, preferably someplace where you'll be able to find them in the dark or in heavy smoke.

- Make plans in advance. In case of evacuation, know where you pets will go. Are there friends or relatives who can take your pets in the event of a hotel stay? Many hotels and motels now allow pets. Know which ones in your region do.

- Keep emergency information for your pets in a handy place. This includes the numbers for their veterinarian, animal emergency, plus lists of medications and pertinent health information.

- If you keep an emergency kit for yourself, expand it to factor in your pets. Keep crucial medications and emergency numbers with the emergency kit.

- Make sure your pets wear name tags with your phone number so that if they're lost, they can be returned safely home.

When we adopt pets, we take on responsibility for their lives--their health, their well-being, their safety. This should include disaster preparedness. So don't forget to take their safety and well-being into consideration when planning for emergencies.

Lisa A. Koosis

included photo source