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As a Californian, I am grateful that there are very few natural disasters we need to worry about. I have a first-aid kit for a variety of reasons; road trips, hiking trips, and emergencies. If you need to get in the car to evacuate, you want your dog or cat to be secure in the car (especially considering the additional chaos).
The Red Cross recommends having a map of pet-friendly hotels and motels where you can stay in the event of an evacuation.
Be sure to have a copy of your pet’s current vaccine records, and make sure their identification is up to date. Make sure that you have a few days worth of your pet’s medication if they are medication-dependent. Although these items are basic, when you aren’t sure how far you will be from your home or how long you will be away, the basics are important.
The Red Cross has some additional tips and a printable checklist for you, which I highly recommend checking out. Here in California, it isn’t unusual for us to know of a wildfire 50 miles North of us. Had I know that Kim was going up there, I would have called her and asked her if she needed any extra blankets, towels, collars or leashes (chances are I have a few of these in my house). Work with the local shelters and rescue centers to help transport people and pets, or people with pets. Donations to the Red Cross and local animal shelters can help support the rescue and response efforts. This was great timing considering August and September are usually hurricane months for us.
In the past few years, Massachusetts has seen power outages, floods, hurricanes and tropical storms, blizzards and winter storms, tornados, terrorism, and more. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has declared September “National Emergency Preparedness Month” for the 10th straight year. Ready Massachusetts is MEMA’s campaign, designed to educate and empower residents to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural, technological, and man-made disasters. Build a Kit – Assemble an emergency kit that includes essential items such as bottled water, canned goods and nonperishable food items, and medical supplies. Together We’re Ready is the DPH campaign to encourage Massachusetts residents, families, and communities to make plans and prepare for public health emergencies and severe weather, natural disasters or other emergent events. Get Ready – Prepare yourself and your family for emergencies, such as signing up for emergency alerts. We’re All in this Together – Considerations for individuals with access and functional needs. As we recognize Emergency Preparedness Month, and with winter storm season on the horizon, now is a great time to take note of the important advice that DPH and MEMA provide through the Ready Massachusetts and Together We’re Ready campaigns.

Once you’ve learned your rights as a tenant before you move in, it’s time to figure out what happens after you move in. According to the United States Census Bureau (USCB), as of 2014, more than 37 percent of Massachusetts homes were occupied by renters. Even though summer is winding down, wildfire and major storms can still strike without a notice in Colorado’s high country, prompting Hill’s Pet Nutrition to remind pet owners of how they can prepare themselves and their pets in case of an emergency. Ensure your pet can be identified by either a microchip or collar ID tag and that contact information is up-to-date.
Prepare a “Pet Emergency Go Kit” of pet supplies that is readily accessible in an emergency. Display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let first responders know there is a pet in the house. If you need to evacuate, consider taking a pet carrier or crate for transport and safe-keeping. When disaster does strike, the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network is positioned to quickly respond with shipments of pet food to communities impacted by disaster. Since 2002, the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love™ program has donated more than $275 million worth of Hill’s Science Diet® brand foods to over 1,000 shelters nationwide and helped more than 7 million pets find new homes.
A consumer resource page on disaster preparedness and safety is at the Hill’s website, along with more information on the Disaster Relief Network.
Specifically, because there isn’t always time to prepare for evacuation (especially with earthquakes). Be sure to include your regular & emergency veterinarian along with a few other people that can be contacted in case of an emergency. For health and safety purposes, Red Cross stations don’t take pets that are not service animals.
Vaccine records are very important for staying at hotels and any other place of refuge in an emergency situation. As always, I highly recommend microchipping your pet and keeping the contact information up to date. Extra leashes and harnesses are always a good idea (because you never know if you will see a stray dog while walking or driving, OR your leash might break).
While we are in many cases exempt from worry, there are still things we can do for the families and pets affected in those areas. Last year my friend Kim, who is an emergency veterinary technician at my local emergency hospital went up to the fires to care for pets who were injured.
So as soon as you know about these emergencies, make a call to your local emergency hospital and see if their staff is going to provide relief and if they are in need of anything you might be able to provide.
Chances are the animal shelters will be inundated with lost and injured pets from the disaster and they could use any extra space they can get. Sometimes people not only lost their homes but also lost their form of transportation and it would be really helpful if they could visit their family or friends a few towns away.
Often, social media pages and campaigns are set up quickly to help support the additional donations, so keep your eyes open for that information in the event of a disaster.

It may seem small, but social sharing can be very powerful and very important for getting pets reunited with their families.
I started this blog because I love animals, and I want to help improve their lives through pet parent education and animal rescue awareness. And a lot of the advice pertains to other kinds of disasters which require that you leave your home in a hurry, like a fire. I never even thought about having extra leashes for stray dogs, and in the case of an earthquake, all of these are a must.
There are a wide range of emergencies and disasters that can happen at any time, and it’s important to be prepared to ensure the safety of you and your family.
And this year, Governor Deval Patrick has declared September as “emergency preparedness month” in Massachusetts. In an effort to educate residents and spread the message of the importance of preparing for emergencies, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) launched a pair of public information campaigns designed to help residents take simple, common-sense steps to better prepare themselves, their families, and communities for all types of emergencies. Information is also provided for individuals with disabilities, businesses, and regarding pets and animals. Establish meeting places and a communications plan, and know what to do if you need to evacuate.
These small steps to prepare make a big difference and are essential in ensuring the safety of you and your family in the event of an emergency. Hill’s established the first-of-its-kind national network in 2013 as an extension of its Food, Shelter & Love™ program that provides discounted Science Diet® pet food to more than 800 shelters. Specifically, us Californians need to be prepared for two common natural disasters earthquakes & wildfires!
Although it is difficult to prepare for natural disasters themselves, we can prep necessities to react in the event something does happen.
If you already have a human first-aid kit, the DIY first-aid kits can be particularly helpful because you can combine the needs of you and your pets.
It is also very helpful if your pet is used to a crate to avoid additional stress in an emergency situation.
In the event that your pet gets away and also loses their collar, any veterinary professional will immediately scan them to see if they are microchipped. I also like to keep a slip leash with us because you can slip it on and move out of the house quickly and take your time to put on the proper leash and harness when you have the time. Scout hotels and motels with pet-friendly policies and ask relatives or friends if they could house you and your pet. In its first year, the Hill’s network has delivered free pet food to 50 shelters and veterinary clinics across the country in response to 11 major incidents – including floods in Colorado, fires in Idaho and Arizona, tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas, the fertilizer plant explosion in Waco, Texas, and most recently, the mudslide in Washington and tornadoes in the central and south regions of the country. Through the Disaster Relief Network, Hill’s has increased the reach of its assistance to pets, pet owners and communities during natural disasters and emergencies.

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