Every home is vulnerable in an emergency, and in homes containing pets, advance preparation for them is as important as it is for other members of your family.
There are three essential steps that you should take in preparation for any emergency:
If you have an emergency plan, the chances are you won’t be in the situation many have found themselves in natural disasters worldwide. You would have evacuated early and have been prepared for dealing with your animals.
We want you to take your pet with you should you have to leave your home or the area. Your pet cannot survive without you and you may not be able to return to your property for several days. Remember if it is unsafe for you to remain, it is unsafe for your pet.
Discuss your emergency plan with your family or household so everyone knows what to do. Practice your plan and make sure a copy of it is readily available, for example on the fridge.
You can find out more about preparing for an emergency on the Get Ready Get Thru website.
A get-away kit is a 'grab-and-run' kit, full of items that will allow you to look after your pets in the heat of the moment immediately after a disaster. Ideally you should store this by your back door, or in an easily accessible place.
Your get-away kit should include:
It is essential that your animal is microchipped beforehand – as your animal will be easier to locate if you become separated. The 2011 Christchurch earthquakes had a very successful relocation rate for animals that were microchipped.
Should you have to leave or are in a situation where water, power and food supplies are limited or unavailable, you need to be prepared. This is where a survival kit comes in handy.
You may not be in a position to get it during the initial emergency but you may be able to secure it afterwards, and it may be the crucial difference in the survival of your pet.
Make sure you and your family are safe, but always remember your pets are also your responsibility - they deserve your attention, too.