Pet Planning Tips

Include Your Animals in Your Emergency Plans
Shifting Policy - Background: Following a train derailment several years ago, FEMA recognized that the majority of people in this country have pets, and most of these people consider their pets members of their family. For children and the elderly there is, in most cases, a serious emotional attachment to their pets, an attachment that can have physical ramifications. There are still others who depend on their livestock for their financial survival.

FEMA Directive
FEMA now has added a new directive: Pets should not be left behind in an evacuation. Livestock, when possible, should also be moved to safety.

State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team
Then, Commonwealth of Massachusetts picked up this ball and ran with it, creating the State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team. SMART’s role is to act as a catalyst for local and /or regional jurisdictions to develop annexes to their emergency plans concerning animals in disasters. SMART will assist and coordinate resources if a jurisdiction exceeds its ability to handle evacuated animals.

Emergency Plans for Pets
Whether it is a turtle, toucan, dog, donkey, cat, canary, llama or lizard - include your pets in your emergency plans.

In an emergency evacuation, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, along with your Weston Emergency Officials, wants every pet owner to bring their pets with them. And if your pet is home alone while you work, make arrangements for a neighbor or friend to take your pet with them.

Even if your plans are not perfected, take your pets with you in an evacuation. It is important for all of us to understand that the nature and scope of an emergency will determine any response team’s capabilities, which underscore the need for each of us to have our own plans and supplies in place.

If you need to evacuate your home due to an emergency, whether it is to be just for 10 minutes or 10 hours, take your pets with you. Ten minutes in an emergency situation can become 10 days and 10 hours can become 10 weeks. Do not leave you pets behind. Take your pets with you.

Making Emergency Plans for Pets
  • Be sure you have proper identification on your pets. Microchips and tattoos are best, but they should at least have tags.
  • Firmly attach to their crates or cages an emergency kit including:
    • A basic animal first aid kit
    • A piece of your clothing
    • Any special medicine
    • Bedding
    • Copies of the information in the packet
    • Food and water (enough for at least 3 days)
    Keep these things all together, with easy access, preferably near your kit.
  • Have leashes and collars.
  • If an avian flu is found in wild birds in this country, keep your cats indoors and dogs on leash so they do not come in contact with dead birds.
  • If you do not have crates or cages, get them. If you can’t afford them, call your local animal welfare organization, shelter or animal control office to see if they can help you find one for free.
  • If you have birds, check with your vet about avian flu vaccination. There is a vaccine for the bird strain of the flu.
  • If you work, ask a trusted neighbor who loves and knows animals if they would be willing to take your animals (and their emergency supplies) if an evacuation is called for and you are not home. If they agree, be sure they are familiar with your plans especially your contact information.
  • If your pet is a frequent companion while driving around town or cross-country, keep these things in your car if you can. If not, at least keep a copy of the packet and some food and water in the car.
  • Keep a copy of all the packets with your important papers. The packets should be in clear view, and firmly attached to your pets’ crates and cages. Etch, scratch or write with indelible ink, your name, address, telephone number and pet’s name directly on their crate or cage.
  • Keep current on vaccinations for pets.
  • Know your pets’ hiding places.
  • Make up a water-tight information packet for each pet. Each packet should include:
    • A written description of your pets
    • An out-of -state emergency contact number
    • Any special medical or feeding instructions
    • Chip information or tattoo information
    • Current photos of your pets (Have one showing distinctive markings if possible, one with you in it, and one when your pet doesn’t look their best)
    • Current vaccination records
    • Your name, address, phone number
    • Your pets’ names
Animal Shelter
Provisions will be made at shelters that are opened, but all animals must be in a cage or crated.