The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, but most hurricanes form later in the season between August and October. On average, of the hurricanes that make landfall on the eastern coast of the U.S., 40% of them will hit Florida. Preparing for a possible hurricane means having an emergency plan in place for your pets too, especially this year as all prognosticators are predicting above average activity this season.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Federal Government implemented the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Act (PETS), which requires states to consider household pets and service animals in their disaster planning. The PETS Act authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide care, shelter and rescue for pets during a natural disaster or emergency, but it is important to have a plan and be ready to keep your pets safe.
- Prepare a kit with emergency supplies including:
- 3-7 days of food in airtight, waterproof containers
- 3-7 days of water for your pet
- Medicines and copies of medical records including documentation of rabies and vaccination shots
- First aid kit with bandages, tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment and a pet first aid reference book
- Collar with ID tags, harness and leash. If your pet is microchipped, be sure that contact information is up to date.
- Copies of registration and/or adoption papers
- Crate or pet carrier
- Waste disposal bags. You may also consider artificial grass to create a place for your pets to go especially if you are unable to take them outside.
- Pictures of your pet and you to help with identification if you get separated
- Familiar items such as a toy or blanket
- Make an emergency plan
- If you need to evacuate, know where you will go. If you plan to stay at a hotel, know which ones are pet friendly. If you are staying with friends and family, be sure that they will welcome you and your pet.
- Plan with neighbors or friends to make sure someone is available to take your pet if you are unable to do so. Designate a location where you will meet when it is safe to do so.
- Have contact information for local shelters and emergency veterinary hospitals
- Stay calm. Your pet can sense emotions so remaining calm can help reduce panic for them.
- Be prepared but adapt as needed based on the circumstances and follow instructions received from authorities on the scene.
It is important to be prepared to keep all of your family members, including pets, safe during an emergency. For more helpful tips and information about pet preparedness, visit www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY.