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Have You Taken Steps to Prepare for an Emergency?

September is National Preparedness Month. Have you taken steps to prepare for an emergency?

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), three elements of good preparation are:

  • Being Informed — Learn about the potential emergencies that can happen where you live and know the appropriate ways to respond to them.
  • Making a Plan — Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan what you would do in different situations. How would you get to a safe place? How would you contact one another and get back together?
  • Building a Kit — Find a list of suggested items to include in an emergency supply kit.

Taking these steps could help you and your family in the event of an emergency.

Plan For Your Pet’s Needs In a Disaster

As with the rest of your family, it’s important to plan for your pet before, during and after a natural disaster. While making emergency plans for your family, make sure you know of the pet friendly hotels and shelters in your area, so that if a disaster does occur, you know which places will accept your pet.

You should have an emergency kit planned and ready to go for your family that also includes important things for your pet, like food, medications, veterinary records and other supplies that may not be available later.

If you are evacuated from your home, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests that you take your pets with you. Most pets cannot survive on their own if left behind, and if they do, they are often lost after you return to your home.

Making sure your pet has a secure tag with up-to-date information could help your pet be returned to you if you get separated later on.

Learn more about what to do with your pets during and after a disaster.

Make sure you have bottled water on hand for an emergency, and know how to make water safe to drink if you run out.

Plan Care for Your Pets During Emergencies

A Coast Guard technician helps a family and their pets near a submerged road along the Red River in Kindred, North Dakota.

A Coast Guard technician helps a family and their pets near a submerged road along the Red River in Kindred, North Dakota. Photo from the Coast Guard on Flickr.

Recent disasters remind us how important it is to prepare for emergencies. When you have to evacuate your home because of an earthquake, tornado, flood, or other emergency, there’s no time to prepare. The time to prepare is now.

Emergency planning is important for every member of your family – pets included. There are simple steps you can take to make your evacuation with your pet quick and safe. You can store food, water, medicines, veterinary records, and learn where you can take your pets when an emergency happens in your community. suggests:

If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if possible. However, if you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets.

Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.

Find more tips for preparing your pets for emergencies at