If recent years have taught us anything, it’s that emergencies can happen anywhere, any time. Whether it’s a fire, a flood or a man-made disaster like a train derailment, these days, it pays to have a plan for your family and your pets. Here are a few tips to help you get prepared for anything.
Have a Bug Out Kit
A bug out kit or bug out bag is basically just a bag of absolute essentials that you keep in an easy to access place, so that if you ever need to leave home in a hurry, all you need to do is grab it. You should have one for each family member, and each pet, and in the pet bags, you should include the following:
- Copies of their documentation (vaccination records and other paperwork)
- Medication, if they are taking chronic medication (or make sure that you keep their medication in one place, so it’s easy to grab when you need it
- A blanket or soft bed
- A coat or jacket
- A water bottle or collapsible travel bowl (and one for food)
- A bag of their regular kibble
Generally, you won’t need large quantities of everything, but in an emergency, it could be at least a couple of days before you can access essentials, so it’s worth having them with you. A bonus tip would be to take this bag along when you’re going to take a road trip. It’s a great supplement to your emergency travel kit when your pets are along for the ride!
Where to Go in an Emergency
Where you should go in an emergency will depend largely on what type of emergency it is.
In the case of tornadoes and large inland storms, the basement is often the safest place to wait it out, while coastal storms are often time to seek higher ground as ocean waters rise.
If there’s a forest fire or a man-made disaster, you may be evacuated to a public building, like a sports arena or church, however, in many cases, pets won’t be allowed to accompany you. It’s therefore a good idea to find a few low cost, pet friendly motels in surrounding cities or towns and keep their contact information on hand, so you can arrange accommodation in an emergency.
If you are evacuated, it’s also a good idea to go as soon as you get the notification, rather than opting to wait and see. If you delay leaving the area, you could wind up stuck in traffic, or find it difficult to find accommodation that can accommodate you and your pets.
Wait Until It’s Safe to Return
Very often the risk to pets doesn’t end when the immediate threat or emergency is over. Cleanup and repair operations can be just as dangerous for your furry friends, and it’s best to wait until the official all clear is given before you contemplate bringing them home. Even when you do, make sure that you check that fences and gates are fully operational, and that there’s no damage to your home that could put them at risk.