Many of us consider pets a part of our family. The thought of losing them during an emergency is unbearable. Luckily, there are steps you can take and services you can utilize that can help keep them safe. When creating your personal preparedness plan, it is important to consider the pets in your life as well.
FEMA has several resources that will assist you in developing your pet plan (Caring for Animals). If you are forced to evacuate, you will want to easily be able to grab everything you need for yourself and your pet. It is important that you include supplies your pet will need in your go-kit, or create a separate bag for your pet. These include your pet's paperwork, veterinary contact information, food, water, and any medications. Not all shelters will allow pets. It is a good idea to research pet-friendly shelters when you are creating your evacuation plan.
Be sure to have a back up plan for your pet. This might include a friend or a neighbor who can take your pet in for a while. There is also a new program in the Philadelphia area that helps displaced pets after an emergency. The Red Paw opened its doors in July of last year, sheltering pets until their owners' get back on their feet. For more information, check out this article in the Philadelphia Weekly
You may also need to shelter in place with your pet during an emergency. When you are gathering the supplies you and your family might need, be sure to consider your pet's needs as well. Remember, you may be asked to shelter in place for up to three days. Be sure to have additional water, pet food, and medication available for your pet.
When it comes to keeping your pet safe during an emergency, a little bit of preparation can go a long way. Be sure to have the supplies your pet will need on hand and get to know your local resources. Check out the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management website for important tips on including your pet in your emergency plans.