Don’t forget about your furry friends when creating your family’s emergency preparedness plan. Remember, if your home isn’t safe for you, then it’s not safe for them either.

Advance planning is the best defense against disaster, and can help ensure that your pets are cared for if chaos hits.

1. Alert Authorities of Pets Inside

Use pet window cling decals to alert authorities to look for pets inside your home in the event of an emergency. Decals cost only a few dollars, but can be lifesaving for your pet if a fire or other disaster strikes. If you own a security system, your security company may be able to provide you with pet decals. A few tips:

  • When evaluating options, select decals made of reflective material so that they can be seen easily—even at night.
  • On the sticker, indicate the number of pets in the house and their names for fast reference by emergency responders.
  • Include emergency contact phone numbers, including your own and the vet’s.

If you’re the one who calls 911, inform the operator that your pets are still inside; in the same way you would if your children were trapped.

2. Line up a Temporary Home

If you needed to immediately evacuate your home, do you know what you would do with your pets? Be proactive and have a plan in place now to save yourself headaches later. Consider the following as possible temporary homes for your pets:

  • The home of a family member, friend or neighbor
  • Pet travel or lodging centers
  • RedRover, a volunteer-based organization
  • Pet-friendly hotels

If in doubt, or looking for options in your neighborhood, contact your local shelter, as they will likely be able to point you in the right direction. Keep a list of all pet-friendly locations with your disaster relief supplies.

3. Create a Pet Disaster Relief Kit

Compile a disaster relief kit for your pet in advance that includes necessary survival supplies, so you’re ready should you need to leave your home in a rush.

Items to consider include:

  • Extra pet medication and the vet’s phone number.
  • Food and water supplies, and feeding bowls.
  • A leash, harness or carrier to transport the pet.
  • Playthings or toys.

4. Always ID Your Pets

Make sure that your pets wear a collar and identification at all times. That way, if they need rescued or get loose during an emergency, the person that finds them knows whom they belong to and how to return them.

What steps have you taken to ensure that your pet is safe during a disaster? Share your pointers in the comments below.