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Vacation, stay-cation, or evacuation: tips to keep animals safe

Vacation, stay-cation, or evacuation: tips to keep animals safe


Know before you go! Animal disaster planning for travelers, hosts, and animal sitters

By Julie Atwood

Your home and animal-sitter should have a copy of your Animal Emergency Disaster Plan, (DAP). Put everything in a binder. Leave a DAP binder on the kitchen counter, and put pet Ready Kits and animal shelter in place (SIP) supplies in easy-access locations, near fire extinguishers. Make a Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kit for sitters! Include: work gloves, hard hat, safety goggles, respirator masks, headlamp, and pre-set NOAA radio.

Key items to include in your Vacation or Animal-Sitter Disaster Action Plan (DAP)

– Animal emergency and veterinarian contacts

– Vaccination records and medications

– Transportation and sheltering resources for your large animals

– Evacuation Zone Map

– List of local news radio stations

– Detailed “Shelter-in-Place Prep” instructions for equines, “backyard” farm animals, and poultry

– Weather Watch- Red Flag Action checklist

– 10-minute “Go Now!” checklist

– Site map of your property with animal, resource and hazard info

– Animal insurance info

– Advance Care Directive

Animal evacuation and shelter-in-place planning for hosts

Visitors are “transient residents” who often do not have disaster-prep on their minds when planning a trip with pets. Equestrians are usually prepared for individual emergencies, but not for a disaster. Be a super host, and help your guests be as safe and ready as possible if you – and they – are in a potential evacuation situation.

Send a Pet Vacation Preparedness Packet to guests when confirming their reservation. A great host will let guests know about impending and current weather alerts, possible hazards, and area resources. Uninformed and poorly prepared guests are a liability for the entire neighborhood. Here’s a checklist of critical items to help everyone stay safer:

Disaster action plan for guests with pets

– Emergency contacts

– Local resources: evacuation zone map, emergency alert sign-up info, news radio stations, agency’s social media accounts

– Emergency veterinarians & hospitals

– Pet Ready-Kit checklist

– Documentation that pets are ID’d, microchipped, and vaccinated per local recommendations

– Make sure guests know where to find fire extinguishers and know how to use them

– Provide a site map with locations of hoses, emergency supplies, and gas tanks

– Provide clear instructions for disabling electric gates, garage doors

– Alert guests to possible Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events

– Provide clear, concise instructions for starting a generator

– Clearly explain actions to take that might be automatic or self-evident to you but not to guests

Safe animal travel planning for everyone

Things to consider:

– Where will you go if your destination is evacuated?

– What will you do if your home is under an evacuation order and you cannot return?

– Will you have enough cash to buy essentials (such as fuel) in the event of a prolonged power outage along your route or at your destination?

– Are you equipped to keep pets and equines safe if your only emergency option is a campground?

– Are you taking enough special-needs pet food and animal medications for at least two weeks?

Just like your home plan, your “on the road DAP” must factor in just about every possibility.