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Prepare your pets for an emergency

When the unexpected happens, having a plan in place for your furry friend is just as important.

A dog patiently waits at the Tathra bushfire evacuation centre.

During the recent bushfires in Cobden, Bega, and Tathra our evacuation centres were not only filled with people seeking refuge, but their animal friends as well.

We even heard of someone who, in a last minute panic, took dog food when she evacuated but no clothes (even underwear) for herself!

Emergencies affect everyone, even animals. So when the unexpected happens, having an emergency plan for your furry friend is just as important as having a plan for you.

If you have to leave your home in an emergency, your animals almost certainly will too. So, here are a few things you can do to plan ahead so you and your furry friends can stay safe.

During an emergency your pets and animals will need you more than ever to ensure their safety and well-being.

Though we may never be able to ask them – we can safely assume they won’t know what’s happening during a disaster or emergency, and this could really scare them. Remember, if you feel stressed during an emergency, they’ll probably feel stressed too.

Also, it can be dangerous if you don’t prepare.  As some emergencies can cause huge winds, fierce storms, and flash flooding, unprepared animal owners have risked their lives during disasters in an attempt to rescue animals who were lost or left outside. Last minute rescues can leave animal owners at risk of injury or death themselves.

We recommend that when you prepare an emergency plan for your family, you make sure you include your furry family members as well. Taking the time to prepare, will help you to keep your beloved animals safe, and make things safer and less stressful for you when disaster strikes.

Here are our Top 3 Tips to Prepare Your Animals for Emergency:

  1. Pack for your animal to evacuate: If it’s not safe for you to stay in your home during an emergency, it’s not safe for them either! Make sure you include supplies for your animals in your emergency kit. This includes: food and water, toys and bedding, identification, medication and veterinary information, leashes or harnesses, and transport cages.
  2. Plan where you will take your animal: Many hotels and shelters do not accept animal guests other than assistance animals. So it’s important to have a solid plan for where your animal can stay during an evacuation, and in the long period after when you clean up or rebuild your home. Also think about who you would call to help you if an emergency happens while you’re away from home – we suggest that you introduce your neighbours to your pets, so if something were to go wrong someone nearby would be able to help.
  3. Make sure you can identify your animal: During an emergency, animals might follow their instincts and run or hide, so it’s important that you have ways to identify them. Make sure they have collars, tags and a microchip in case the collars or tags are lost. It’s also a good idea to have photos that you can use to identify your animals in case of mistaken identity. Many pets look alike, particularly if dirty or singed, so try to do everything you can to eliminate confusion. You might also want to consider having a secondary contact on name tags and microchips in case you’re unable to be contacted.

Special advice to safeguard large animals and livestock:

Do something simple to make you safer:

The Get Prepared mobile app helps you design the emergency plan that’s right for you, and put it at your fingertips. Download Get Prepared, co-created with general insurer IAG.