With all that San Diego has to offer, it’s easy to forget that a natural disaster could strike our pocket of paradise at a moment’s notice. Events like earthquakes or wildfires are very real threats to the Southern California region, but many residents have yet to prepare for the unthinkable. In honor of National Preparedness Month, San Diego Humane Society is encouraging you to take steps now to keep you and your animals safe during an emergency.
“When natural disasters strike, beloved pets are at risk of being left behind due to lack of proper planning,” said Stacey Zeitlin, Vice President of Community Impact at San Diego Humane Society. “By making an emergency plan early, pet owners can prevent separation and ensure their animals stay safe during incredibly stressful situations.”
1. Prepare a pet emergency kit. Gather a two-week supply of food, water and your pet’s medication in a sturdy container. Don’t forget veterinarian or animal hospital contact information, shot records, bowls, crates, bedding and toys. Keeping your pet comfortable will reduce stress during an evacuation.
2. Take your pets with you if you are evacuating! Pets cannot fend for themselves during emergencies and leaving them behind can risk their lives and the lives of rescuers. Make sure your pet is comfortable getting into a carrier ahead of time and have your emergency kit ready to grab and go. This will allow you to act quickly when every second counts.
3. Make sure your pet has ID tags and a microchip. If you and your pet are separated, a collar with tags and a microchip can help you reunite quickly. We recommend that all animals in the household, even those who normally don’t go outside, wear collars with your contact information at all times. Make sure to keep your phone number and address up to date, and if possible, designate an emergency contact outside of your immediate area.
4. Identify a trusted neighbor who can take your pets to a pre-arranged meeting location in case you are away from home during an emergency.
5. Research pet-friendly shelter options like hotels or evacuation sites in case you become displaced. County information sources such as ReadySanDiego.org and ListoSanDiego.org (Spanish) can help.
By completing these steps, you’ll be prepared to keep your pet safe should disaster strike. For more safety tips and additional pet disaster preparedness resources, visit sdhumane.org/disasterprep.