Evacuation With Pets: Complete Checklist

December 8, 2017
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With the increased fire danger in San Diego County, NOW is the time to think about what you'll need to do if you're asked to evacuate.

You may have documents, photos and valuables ready, but what about your pets?

Thanks to John Van Zante at Rancho Coastal Humane Society, we have this complete list of what you need to remember when you and your pets need to leave in a hurry.

#1:    BUY OR "BUILD" A PET EVACUATION KIT.
*        Have everything labeled with your contact information
*        Take extra labels and markers
*        Crates / Carriers
*        Medications
*        Food (enough for at least one week)
*        Water (enough for at least one week)
*        Food Dishes and Water Bowls
*        Blankets / Beds
*        Toys
*        Treats
*        Can Opener (if your pet eats canned food without a pop up lid)
*        Litter box and kitty litter
*        Poop bags
*        Extra collars and harnesses with extra long leashes
*        Make sure the collars have identification
*        Since many pets escape by pulling out of their collars, have your pets microchipped (if they aren't already)
*        Make sure your contact information for the microchip is up to date
*        information to update your pet's Microchip I.D. if you evacuate
*        Recent photos of your pets
*        A pet First Aid kit
*        Basic information including phone numbers, the name of your veterinarian, and copies of medical records in waterproof containers
*        Paper towels and disinfectant
*        Contact information for a boarding facility
*        Make sure that your pet's vaccinations are up to date in case it needs to go to a boarding facility or evacuation area

#2:    HAVE A PLAN OF ACTION.
*        Decide, in advance, who will load the pets, who will load evacuation kits, which vehicles you will use, who will drive, and where you'll go.
*        Remember that not all evacuation centers allow pets.
*        Prearrange with friends or family that will take your pets if necessary.

#3:    HOLD A "DRY RUN" OF HOW TO EVACUATE WITH YOUR PETS.
*        Practice your Plan of Action.

#4:    ASSIGN "CARE GIVERS" FOR YOUR PETS.
*        Have a feeding, walking, cleaning schedule before you need it.

#5:    PET IDENTIFICATION STICKERS FOR YOUR HOME - INCLUDING A SIGN TO NOTIFY RESCUERS WHEN YOU HAVE "EVACUATED."
*        Firefighters are animal lovers. When they can, they will rescue pets.
*        Have a sign prominently displayed in a door or window informing emergency personnel that you have pets, how many, and what kind.
*        If you evacuate with your pets...post "EVACUATED" signs. 

#6:    PLAN FOR A LONG-TERM CAREGIVER.
*        If you are not able to return to your home, make arrangements for a friend or family member to take your pets if necessary.

#7:    HORSES AND OTHER LARGE ANIMALS.
*        If you must leave in a hurry and you cannot take your horses or other large livestock, one option is to open the gate to their enclosure so they can escape on their own.
*        If this is your only option, close the gate after you let the animals out. hey are inclined to go back into the enclosure since that's their safe place where they get water, food, and care.

 #8:   DON'T FORGET THE SMALLER PETS
*        Birds, fish, reptiles, pet rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, etc.