Fire Emergencies: Planning Tips for Pet Owners

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If you’ve been browsing Facebook or Twitter lately, there’s a good chance that you heard about the dog who got left behind during the California fires only to be found a few days later. It’s a heartwarming story about a dog’s loyalty to its human masters.

However, there’s a more important lesson in there. The owners, who were wrongfully blamed for leaving the dog behind by keyboard warriors, were unable to rescue their pet because they simply did not know what to do.

Though things turned out positively for them, it could have very well gone awry. So, the best solution is to have a fire emergency plan in place. Here are a few tips from our side.

Make a Plan
The first thing you need to do is actually develop a plan. You don’t know when a natural disaster such as a forest fire will occur and if it does, you’re likely to panic. Panic can interfere with your thinking. However, with a plan and instructions, you just have to follow and not think on your feet.

Your plan should include things such as a meeting place for the family when disaster strikes. The location should preferably be an outdoor one.
Also, practice the plan with your family and pets. Run a few drills whenever possible. Make sure you also have a backup plan for your pets for when you aren’t at home.

Train Your Pets
Train your pets to follow commands. This can go a long way in dealing with an emergency situation. If your pet can listen to your commands, things will be much easier to deal with.

Prepare an Emergency Kit
Make sure you have an emergency kit ready for yourself and your pet. This should include clean water and plenty of it (at least 3 days’ worth). Then, include food, preferably non-perishables, for the pets and humans. Get a makeshift kennel ready for the dog. If you have a cat, a litter box will do.

Keep your medication ready and accessible. Also, keep as many towels and blankets as possible.

Carry an extra leash and a bunch of trash bags. Finally, don’t forget the first aid kit. A first aid kit should contain gauze, disinfectant, and bandages etc.

Memorize Your Escape Plan

Make sure you memorize your escape plan. Note down the addresses of nearby shelters and make arrangement with family and friends outside of the area. Also, remember that human shelters will not take in pets. So, make sure you have a list of all the animal shelters nearby.
ID Your Pets

Make sure your pet is ID’d. This will help rescuers identify your pet and locate you when the find him/her. IDs come in various formats. You have collars IDs, which are affordable. The more expensive option is a microchip.

Also, ID your house with a pet rescue decal from ASPCA. This will tell rescuers that there’s a pet in the house.