Planning for everything: Disaster prep for you and your animals
It’s summer! Are you making plans to travel with your animals? Or, is a sitter staying with them?
Maybe you’re having guests with pets. Whatever your summer fun scenarios, planning for animal emergencies and disaster prep should be part of your prep.
This year brings a dramatically longer fire season, and new concerns about fuel and other shortages and infectious diseases in animals as well as humans. Whew… not exactly the summer fun mindset we want! But if your summer plans include emergency plans for your animals, you’ll be better able to truly relax and enjoy.
Whether you’re an animal owner, sitter, or AirBnB, HipCamp or resort items in our Summer Animal Preparedness Guide will help you organize and check off all the considerations for safe traveling and hosting.
We also live in Earthquake Country, it’s a big consideration! Have you upgraded your preparedness plans for yourself and the rest of your family—the critters as well as the humans?
Having a plan is a start, now, how about Plan B, C, D…? Upgrading and updating your Disaster Action Plan includes taking a realistic look at everything that could have health and life-threatening impacts and doing what you can to improve the odds for safety and resilience.
Take it one step at a time, starting with the basics:
- Have an Animal Disaster Plan that includes Evacuation and Sheltering in Place.
- Refresh your Go-Kits, include enough for 5-7 days.
- Have enough emergency supplies, (water, feed, medications, parasite control, etc.), for at least a month.
- Have strong emergency communication capabilities.
- Build and strengthen your “Emergency Support Network”— your Buddy System of helpers to transport, assist or care for your animals, and for whom you can provide backup.
Whether you’re hitting the show circuit, riding in the back country, welcoming visitors to your inn, farm stay, or vacation rental property, or vacationing without your pets and/or equines – planning is more important than ever in this drought-stricken, supply chain-and-COVID-challenged year.
We’ve compiled important checklists, action items and resources that will help you improve your plans for equines, pets, poultry, and livestock that could save lives and are guaranteed to provide peace of mind.
Incorporating emergency and disaster plans into your vacation prep means factoring in all the same essentials in your home Disaster Action Plan, (“DAP”). Ensuring safety for your animals takes a few more steps.
Safety starts at home! Weekly walk-arounds should be part of your summer home and barn routine.Sonoma FireSAFE and Cal Fire’s “Ready for Wildfire” app, both offer super checklists to self-assess your property. HALTER Project has a great “FireSAFE Animals” resource library.
- Make sure your property, including your perimeter fencing, hay storage, and water supply are safe, secure, and defensible.
- Remove all the flammable “stuff” that can blow or burn.
- Get new hoses and nozzles and get rid of any that are not in great shape or too short.
- Clean up! And down! And look around!
Don’t expect your home and animal-sitters to tackle safety chores in your absence. Start with a clean, green and safe setting so maintenance is easy. Know Before You Go is critical when you’re leaving animals at home, or traveling to, or through, a fire or storm-prone area.
ANIMAL PREP CHECK-OFFS FOR TRAVELERS AND ANIMAL-SITTERS
- Emergency Alerts: We all get emergency alerts for our homes, workplace, kids’ schools, loved ones, right? Now, add “Vacation Alerts & Contacts”. Sign up for all local emergency alerts for your travel route and destination. If your home and/or animal “sitters” are not local, make sure they are signed up for all alerts for your home. The same goes for adding the AM/FM news radio stations and NOAA weather channel to your “Emergency Communications” info.
- Know Your Zone— For every place you and your animals might be! Download maps, save web links for Emergency Services in the places you’re traveling to or through.
- Learn about the possible hazard conditions that can pose threats to your vacation fun, and make sure you have maps, evacuation info, and several ways to get accurate tinformation. All these items are essential for people caring for your home and animals, as well.
- Take your Go-Kits!
- Make veterinary connections before you go.
Basically, everything you have in your home emergency plan should be part of your vacation. Chat with friends who routinely go walkabout, especially if they take their animals, to share tips and advice.
Planning for animals who are your traveling companions, those relaxing at home, or visiting pets, requires a few more steps. Don’t assume anything!