CRCOG encourages pet owners, including those with service animals or livestock, in the Hartford Capitol Region to get ready for all types of emergencies by following these three steps:
In addition to the detailed steps outlined above, the following considerations will ensure that you and your pets, service animals, and livestock are prepared in the event of a disaster.
When you develop your emergency plan, consider your animals’ needs, including how you will care for them if you have to stay at home, how you will care for them if you have to evacuate, and what you will do if you are away from your pets when a disaster strikes. Keep in mind that what's best for you is typically what's best for your animals.
- Plan in advance where you will go if you evacuate, as pets (other than service animals) are usually not allowed in public shelters. Some communities have established sheltering options for pets. Contact your local emergency management agency to see if there are any emergency animal shelters in your community or along your evacuation route.
- Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check their policies on accepting pets and restrictions on the number, size, and species. Ask if "no pet" policies could be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of "pet friendly" places, including their telephone numbers, with other disaster information and supplies.
- Ask friends, relatives, or others outside your area if they could shelter your animals. If you have two or more pets, they may be more comfortable if kept together, but be prepared to house them separately.
- Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency. Include 24-hour telephone numbers. Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets in a disaster situation. Animal shelters may be overburdened, so this should be your last resort unless you make such arrangements well in advance.
- Take your pets with you if you evacuate. If it is not safe for you, it is not safe for them. Leaving them may endanger you, your pets, and emergency responders.
- Carry pets in a sturdy carrier. Animals may feel threatened by some disasters, become frightened, and try to run. Being in its own carrier helps reassure a pet. A leash (or harness) is also an important item for managing a nervous or upset animal.
- Have identification, collar, leash, and proof of vaccinations for all pets. Make sure your animal's license is current. At some locations, you may need to provide veterinary records before boarding your pets. If your pet is lost, I.D. tags with both your home telephone number and that of your primary out-of-town contact person will help officials return it to you.
- Purchase stickers for doors and windows indicating number, type, and probable location of animals. Change stickers as the number of pets in your household changes.
- Remember where your animals usually go to sleep or hide. That’s where they are likely to be in case of fire, and you may be able to direct firefighters to them if a fire starts in your absence.
- Time permitting, remove animals from a burning house on a leash or in a carrier. Make sure your animals wear non-breakable collars with current license and vaccination tags.
- Place muzzles, handling gloves, catch nets, and animal restraints where firefighters can easily find them.
- Keep animal health and ownership records in your Go Kit, so you can quickly grab them upon exiting. Put a copy of the records in a safe location away from your home.
- If possible, keep a copy of the pet records, including animal health and ownership records, with a friend because you may not have time to get them in a fire.
- Keep a current photo of your pet in case they get lost.
- Create a plan in case you are not at home during an emergency to ensure that someone takes care of your pets, even evacuating them if necessary. The plan should include these elements:
- Give a trusted neighbor the key to your home and instructions, as well as your daytime (work or school) contact information.
- Make sure the neighbor is familiar with your pets and knows the location of your Pet Emergency Kit.
- Make sure the neighbor listens to a local radio or television station for emergency information and puts your shelter-in-place or pet evacuation plan into action.
- Have a plan to communicate with your neighbor after the event. You will want to arrange a meeting place in a safe area so you can be reunited with your pets.
- Learn pet first aid and keep your pet first aid kit up to date.
If you have large animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats, or pigs on your property, be sure to prepare before a disaster.
- Ensure all animals have some form of identification.
- Evacuate animals whenever possible. Map out primary and secondary routes in advance.
- Make available vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting each type of animal. Also make available experienced handlers and drivers. It is best to allow animals a chance to become accustomed to vehicular travel so they are less frightened and easier to move.
- Be aware that many transportation services become overwhelmed in disaster situations and may not be able to help you even if you have a contracted agreement.
- Ensure destinations have food, water, veterinary care, and handling equipment.
- If evacuation is not possible, animal owners must decide whether to move large animals to shelter or turn them outside.
- When temperatures plunge below zero, owners of large animals and livestock producers need to give extra attention to their animals. Prevention is the key to dealing with hypothermia, frostbite, and other cold weather injuries in livestock. Make sure your livestock has the following to help prevent cold-weather problems:
Take extra time to observe livestock, looking for early signs of disease and injury. Severe cold-weather injuries or death primarily occur in the very young or in animals that are already debilitated. Cases of weather-related sudden death in calves often result when cattle are suffering from undetected infection, particularly pneumonia. Sudden, unexplained livestock deaths and illnesses should be investigated quickly so that a cause can be identified and steps can be taken to protect the remaining animals. Animals suffering from frostbite don’t exhibit pain. It may be up to two weeks before the injury becomes evident as the damaged tissue starts to slough away. At that point, the injury should be treated as an open wound and a veterinarian should be consulted.
- Plenty of dry bedding to insulate vulnerable udders, genitals, and legs from the frozen ground and frigid winds
- Windbreaks to keep animals safe from frigid conditions
- Plenty of food and water