Protecting Your Pets During a Hurricane | Creating an Evacuation Plan For Your Pets
An evacuation plan is a necessity for every home, especially if you live in an area where fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and other disasters are a possibility. Living in coastal South Florida, one of the most hurricane-prone regions in the entire U.S., Boca Raton homeowners are well aware of what to expect from a major hurricane and the importance of emergency preparedness before one strikes.
Though many homeowners create evacuation plans for their homes and practice them with their kids, far fewer have considered an emergency home evacuation plan for their pets. With hurricane season (June 1 through November 30) now in full swing, and peak hurricane season (August 1 through October 31) just around the corner, now is the perfect time to address any holes in your emergency evacuation plan, including your pets. We recommend taking these simple steps to add your pets to your emergency evacuation plan to be sure that your four-legged friends are safe-and-sound if a hurricane or any other natural disaster should strike in your area.
1) Assign pet evacuation to an adult. Everyone in the household should know how to respond during an evacuation, and that includes assigning one parent or adult to the pets. This allows the other adults in the household and the children to focus on their part of the evacuation plan, preventing any additional confusion during a high-stress moment when time is of the essence.
2) Keep evacuation maps, pet carriers & pet supplies readily accessible. If you need to evacuate, you should know exactly where every important item is. If your pets require carriers, keep them in a place that you can access easily. It is also important to keep a pet “go bag” containing food, water, medications, bowls, leashes, treats, and any other supplies that your pet(s) require. It is a good idea to have enough of these necessary items to last about three days just to be safe.
3) Practice your plan. Include your pets in your home evacuation drills. Running through the pet evacuation plan in advance will give you the opportunity to see how they will respond and to make changes to your plan if necessary. Getting your 100-pound dog out of a window may not be as simple as you think!
4) Be prepared in case you get separated from your pets. No matter how much you drill your evacuation plan, it is always possible that a dog or cat will run off while you’re focusing on keeping your family safe. A microchip or a GPS-compatible tag can help you find your pets once it’s safe to return to the area.
They say you can never be too prepared, and this is most definitely true when it comes to natural disasters. When you prepare for a disaster and are creating your emergency evacuation plan, remember to prepare to take care of the entire family—including your pets.