by Samantha Daniels

Emergencies can create confusion and making sure your family is safe is priority. In these critical moments, there are some special considerations when a pet is a member of your family. Make sure you know how to keep your pet safe during and after an emergency by following these tips.

1. Prevention is key! Inspect and pet proof your home when it comes to electrical wires, appliances, and other hazards that may be within reach of your curious companion.

2. Have an animal emergency kit readily available that includes a leash/carrier, bottled water and food, and bowls. If you have a cat, have litter and a small litter tray ready to go.

3. Make sure that all your animal’s ID information is up to date and displayed on their collar.  If your pet is microchipped, make sure the information on file with the company is accurate and up to date.

4. Be observant of your animal’s usual hiding spots when they are scared. During a fire, your animal will likely be terrified and try to find a familiar spot. You will need to be able to locate them quickly in an emergency.

5. Put a Pet Alert window cling on your window in a prominent location. This will alert first responders that you have pets and how many are inside. Pet alert stickers can be found at most pet stores, fire departments, alarm companies, or online. The ASPCA provides a Pet Safety Pack for free.

6. Give a trustworthy neighbor a spare key to your home and make sure they know about your pets. This can be crucial if something were to go awry when you’re away. A neighbor can open the door to let the fire department in, or your pet out.

7. Arrange a safe haven for your pet if you have to evacuate. This should be a predetermined location. This can be a boarding facility or friends and family. Never leave an animal behind. If you aren’t safe at home, neither are they.

8. Keep yourself safe so the fire department can rescue pets. The fire department’s first priority during an emergency is human safety. They will not rescue your pets until you are safe.

Following these simple steps can give you the peace of mind you need to know that your pets are safe. We can’t predict or prevent every emergency, but being prepared could be the difference in your animal companion’s life.