Here’s How to Keep Your Pets Safe During a Wildfire Evacuation

The wildfires are in the United States this year, burning 3.6 million hectares of land this year, destroying property, causing injuries and deaths. Since wildfires often start suddenly, evacuation plans are important. And that plan should include your pets.

“Most of the time, wildfires come quickly, people are not ready to go,” says Linnet Round, information officer at Cal Fire.

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prepare better. We have already discussed how to do it. Prepare your home and yard During a wildfire, What to pack in a travel bag How to use emergency apps if you need to get out of the house quickly keep in touch
And Get up-to-date information About natural disasters in your area – and how to do it Keep digital copies of important documents.

All of these tips can be helpful in helping your family and home prepare for the unexpected. But what special precautions should you take for your pet? I have received advice from Cal Fire, FMA and the American Red Cross on ways to keep your cats, dogs, and other pets safe during wildfires.

Include pets in your wildfire release plan

Wildfires typically last from May to October, but more recently this deadline has been extended. A.D. A wildfire in December 2020 burned 735,125 acres, breaking U.S. records. Forecasts say 2021 will be another record year for wildfires. It has burned 400,000 hectares of land, including the devastating Bootleg wildfire in Oregon.

The extended duration and intensity of single fires, such as Bootleg, make it even more important to plan before you leave your home, including planning for your pet.

“Sometimes [people] You don’t have much time, and you just have enough time to get out. So if you are prepared in advance, they will not have to worry about that and they will be able to handle it. [their pets] And go. ”

Note: Although this article contains specific information related to wildfires, the advice applies extensively to any natural disaster preparedness. Although it is different for small animals and pets. If you have questions about how to manage animals, horses or other large animals in an emergency, Cal Fire has a helpful guide.

Get to know yourself with the alarm system in your area

Marilyn Jimenez Davila, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, warned of natural disasters in your area. How do local authorities inform residents and visitors about wildfires? Do you sound siren? Do you provide emergency alerts on TV and radio? First of all, make sure you know what kind of alerts are available in your area and how to provide them. This way you will hear the evacuation orders as soon as possible.

Make a go bag for your pet (and for yourself)

Cal Fire details how to prepare pets before they leave and how to keep them safe at the same time. Includes pet-based travel bag items that should be prepared at any time.

  • Pet carrier (s), one for each pet
  • Adequate food and water for two weeks
  • Food and water bowl to withstand spills
  • Pet First Aid (you can buy it or do it yourself)
  • Medications with full use instructions
  • Trash and trash
  • Plastic bags for cleaning
  • Paper towels / cloth towels
  • Sanitary ware
  • Leather / collar / belts / seat belts
  • Blankets
  • Toys and treatments

Put what you can in a bag, put the rest (trash cans, pet carriers, etc.) close by and get everything you need as you leave the door.

Save digital copies Keep up-to-date medical records and other important documents for your pet. You should also keep this information in a waterproof bag, including adoption papers, immunization documents, details about their diet and diet, medical / behavioral issues and animal contact information, the FEMA spokesperson suggested.

“Include a photo of you and your pet together.

Make sure your pets are microchipped and have microchips enabled. Make sure they wear their latest ID on a readable collar, including your contact address (and, ideally, at least someone else’s contact information), crazy dog ​​signs and registration IDs.

You also want to make a suitcase for yourself. Learn more here Emergency travel bag bag If you need to leave the house, what to pack.

Know where you are going and practice in advance

FEMA provides detailed information on evacuation planning, including how to release small animals. Start by identifying multiple evacuation routes and locations, including staying with friends or family or staying in a shelter or hotel. The Red Cross allows service animals, but most shelters do not allow pets.

Red Cross spokesman Jimenez Davila said: “We are working with partners to keep our small animals in a safe place. This means you can come to your Red Cross shelter with your pets and find a safe place to stay when the group is released. The American Red Cross Emergency Alert app has a map section that provides information on shelters.

Jimenez davila suggests filling your car with gas (if you have one) and steering the road in the direction of the planned departure route. “Planning is great, but it really helps, if you practice what you have to do. Practice your way out,” she said. Incorporate pet transporters, luggage bags, and the entire family to check out planned evacuation routes.

If you don’t have a car, talk to your neighbors, friends, and family about your options – and find out what public transportation or other services can help.

Once you get home

Once local authorities decide you are safe, you still have to be careful, says Jimenez Davila. “As soon as you return home, your pet will need extra care, just as you would be careful to wear gloves and sturdy shoes.”

Hot spots or other wildfires can still be a concern. Your pet is going to be overwhelmed, so don’t let them watch and wander around.

Three more important things to remember

If you are not indoors when a fire breaks out or spreads around your home, make a plan to check with your neighbors, friends, or relatives to make sure your pets are safe – or if necessary leave them with them. .

If you have to leave without your pet, keep them indoors in a room without good ventilation, says Cal Fire. Consider installing and attaching them to the bathroom, utility room or garage (depending on the weather).

Store dry food and water in a container that does not break or leak, and slowly drain the water into a large container or sink to provide long-term water supply.

For more information, see the following resources to protect your pet in areas prone to wildfires.

Read more How to prepare for hurricanes, snowstorms, hurricanes and other natural disasters

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