When the unthinkable happens, make sure you think about your pets... Caring for your animals in a disaster means preparing now.
"If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. Unfortunately, animals are also affected by disaster.
The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done today. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what's best for you is typically what's best for your animals.
If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.
If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency.
Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can't care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.
Use the Pet Owners Brochure and the Pet Instructional Video to help you create an emergency plan and kit for your pet.
As I always say, a disaster is stressful enough (gee, Mr. Obvious here!) but not be prepared, even a little bit, makes many times it worse than it needs to be. Don't be afraid, just be prepared. Preparing a little at a time is all it takes... And remember, being prepared is not a destination, but a journey.
(No, I'm not a "prep'er" and have much work of my own to do to be better prepared. But I'm also not afraid to think about the unthinkable and am trying to work on our own preparedness journey and need these reminders myself... ;)