Evacuating with Pets during a Hurricane

Evacuating with pets during a hurricaneEvacuating with pets during a hurricane or other storm is never ideal.  The necessity to evacuate with your pets may come to pass and you should already have put together an emergency kit for you, your family and pets, too! Evacuation day should be planned for you, too. 

When faced with imminent evacuation, you must take your pets with you. 

By leaving your pets behind, you are putting your pet in the position of a very uncertain outcome.  Emergency service workers are already placed with the task of safely evacuating people who cannot safely evacuate themselves.  Don’t leave your pets behind hoping they will take your pets, too. It’s not guaranteed they can save your pets and it’s your responsibility to take them with you. When uncertainty about evacuation exists, keep your pets in very close proximity to you.  In the event you need to leave right away, you can easily have access to them. 

Gather emergency kits pets when evacuating with pets during a hurricane.

The kits should be easily accessible in your home so you can grab and go. In a previous post, we talked about preparing ahead for hurricanes and other storms. In that post we mentioned the items you will need for your pets as you evacuate.  Some of these items included: food, vaccination records, medication, pet carriers, leash, food bowls, litter boxes, chew toys, emergency contact information, first aid kit and ID tags on your pet. Please refer to that post for more details.

Take out your list of pet friendly hotels, shelters and kennels. 

Create the list and store it in a place that you can easily access.  Keep in mind that not all shelters and hotels in Katy, Texas and beyond are pet friendly during times of national disaster.  In fact, the American Red Cross disaster shelters will NOT allow pets.  Try to make phone calls before you leave home if you have a destination/evacuation route in mind to make them aware that you are coming or to ask any last minute questions. If you are traveling with other people, they can make phone calls as you are driving.

Tell someone where you are going when evacuating with pets during a hurricane. 

Share your plans with family and friends whenever possible.  A quick phone call or text to loved ones will provide them with peace of mind as you evacuate.  Also, informing them of your plans may keep them from panicking and coming to look for you. 

Secure pets for the journey. 

Any pet that has a carrier should be put inside of it before you leave home.  All other pets should be leashed. This even goes for the best-behaved pets. During storms and times of stress, pets are known to flee.  Losing your pet during a hurricane is probably one of the biggest nightmares that could happen. 

Follow all instructions by local and state officials. 

Don’t be the guy or gal who tries to “wait it out”.  You should evacuate immediately when ordered to.  If you wait, leaving last minute may not be an option. Don’t play Russian roulette with the lives of your family and pets.  The only times you shouldn’t evacuate is if you are not physically or financially able to.  Also, don’t return to your home until and unless it has been declared safe to do so by local officials.

Install the ASPCA mobile app if you have not done so already. 

This app will be a lifesaver for you while you’re in the process of evacuating during a hurricane, or any other storm, with your pet.  This app works even when you’re not connected, which is a very likely possibility during a hurricane or other storm.

With some forethought, you can add your pet’s health records right on the app, which eliminates the need for stowing paper records in your emergency evacuation kit that you have already (hopefully) prepared.  Furthermore, you can swipe through how to navigate the before, during, and aftermath of any storm with your pet. During times of stress, it’s always great to have a plan to follow.  Also, the app even gives you access to a “recovery kit”, which is a step by step manual on how to search for your pet if he should go missing.  The app even provides you with the capability of creating a digital “lost” poster than you can share immediately via social media. 

Evacuating with pets during a hurricane is something we all hope will never come to pass.  The truth is that it is quite possible, especially if you live in an area that is known for hurricanes and other storms.  The best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to have a plan in place before hurricane season ever rolls around.  Are you prepared?

 

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