Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Pet Emergency Evacuation Plan

As we're in the middle of summer, bushfire season, floods and other natural disasters are something our country sadly cannot avoid.

If your home is located near bush, grassland or coastal areas, or in flood prone areas, it's so important that you are prepared and have an emergency survival plan in place. 

And more specifically, one that includes your pets.

So what exactly should you include in your plan?

Grab a pen and some paper, and let Dr Mark explain exactly what you need to consider. 

1. Identification

In the event you become separated from your pets, it will make the rescue crew’s efforts to reunite you a lot easier if all of your pet’s identification is up-to-date.

Make sure your pet has an ID tag attached to their collar, is registered with the council, and is micro-chipped with your current address and contact details.

Also, consider the ‘alternative contact’ on your pet’s microchip is someone who does not live in the same home as you. 

That way if you are not contactable, they might be.

emergency plan - identification

2. Emergency Evacuation Kit

Put together items that you might need if you were forced to suddenly evacuate with your pets.

Keep them gathered together and somewhere safe and easily accessible, and ensure all members of the family know where to find them.

Also check your kit periodically to ensure the contents are in date.

Your kit should include:
  • Food – at least 3 days’ worth
  • Bottled water and bowl
  • Spare collar and lead
  • Muzzle (if required)
  • Pet carrier (if required)
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Bedding and woollen blanket
  • Toys
  • Your pet’s medications/supplements
  • A written list of your pet’s medications/supplements
  • Your vet’s contact details
  • Current veterinary records
  • A photo of each of your pet’s
  • Towels
  • Plastic bags
  • A litter tray for cats

emergency plan - evacuation kit

3. Code Red Plan

Plan ahead.

It’s important to decide ahead of time if you wish to keep you pets with you or move them to a separate, safe location.

Keep in mind, many evacuation centres do not allow animals, including family pets.

If you intend to move them to a friend or family members home, discuss with them now.

Alternatively, if you plan to place them in a kennel or cattery, make a list of available facilities in your area and include their contact details. 

Also, don’t forget that all vaccinations must be up to date and you have the records available, as many boarding facilities will not take animals without proof of current vaccination status.

If you want to keep your pets with you, ensure you have a confined and secure space for them.
Ensure they’re on a lead or in a carrier, and make sure you have available wet towels and woollen blankets to protect them with. 

And of course, ensure they have access to plenty of water.

emergency plan - code red

4. Keep Neighbours Informed

Discuss with your neighbours about protecting your pets if you are not home during an emergency. 

Keeping in regular contact with your neighbours during this season will ensure nobody gets left behind in an emergency situation. 

emergency plan - neighbours

5. Practice

Now you’re probably thinking, oh we’ll be fine we don’t need to practice.

But like any emergency drill, your evacuation NEEDS to be well practiced and should not be taken lightly. 

Things don’t always go to plan, and can take longer than expected.

However, if you go through the motions a few times a year, you can feel confident that you will be ready to act and protect your family if a real situation ever did occur. 

To assist with your practice emergency evacuation, follow the steps listed below.
  1. Find your pet and secure with a lead or confine in a pet carrier
  2. Check your pets collar with identification attached
  3. Locate your pet evacuation kit
  4. Load your pets and evacuation kit into your vehicle
  5. Go for a drive and practice the route you would take in an emergency

emergency plan - practice

Overall, remember that evacuating your home is stressful for everyone involved, including your pets.

Opportunities to become comfortable with carriers and transport, coupled with lots of positive reinforcement can help immensely.

When away from home ensure plenty of opportunities for toilet breaks, leg stretching and access to food and water.

Stay safe everyone!

For more pet health tips, visit www.vetshopaustralia.com.au/Pet-Health.

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