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Old 10-01-2004, 07:18 PM
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Evacuation Planning for Families with Pets


Wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters can place you in the position of leaving your home for safer pastures. Families with pets are faced with the additional responsibility of ensuring the safety of their animal companions.

Don't wait until the last minute to prepare for a possible evacuation... the more prepared you are, the more assured you can be of the safety of both you and your pets. Here are a few things to consider in an emergency situation:

* Take your pets with you. Pets left behind may be injured, lost, or may even die from starvation, exposure, predators, or accidents. Do not assume that you can later return for your pet, because "later" may be too late; you never know how long you'll have to stay out of the area. Leave early - do not wait for a mandatory evacuation order or you may be told to leave your pets behind.

* Be sure your pet always wears proper identification such as a collar with tags, tattoo, and microchip. You may also want to consider signing up with a national pet registry such as PetLynx, .

* Keep your pet's documentation organized and in an easy-to-access place. Include vaccination records, license, microchip and tattoo numbers, a recent photo, a record of medical conditions and required medication, and the name/number of your veterinarian.

* Keep dogs on leash and cats in carriers to prevent them from bolting in panic or confusion. When you hear of a possible evacuation order, bring your
pets into the house immediately so that you can quickly leave with them if required.

* Pack a kit for your pets. Include food and water for at least several days, medications, leashes or harnesses, carriers, bedding, toys, and a pet first aid kit.

* Make arrangements with a trusted neighbor or friend just in case you're not home. This person should be comfortable with your pets and vice versa. Arrange for them to retrieve your pets and meet you at a specified location.

* Find a safe place to stay ahead of time. Ask friends, family, and veterinary clinics outside of your immediate area if they would be willing to house your pets in case of an emergency. Make a list of pet-friendly accommodations and ask them about their pet policies. As soon as you think you will be evacuating, call ahead to make arrangements.

printed from "From the Homefront" newsletter

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