Home Prepare for disasters by planning for all members of the family, including pets

Prepare for disasters by planning for all members of the family, including pets

rain storm
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VDOT is encouraging residents to make sure they have plans in place that include all members of their family before disaster strikes.

While hurricane season is officially underway in Virginia, preparedness is not limited to a single day or month, and now is the time to plan ahead for emergencies.

Consider who makes up your household, including older adults, children, individuals with disabilities and pets, and ensure everyone is prepared for disasters.

Stay informed about weather events and have your car prepared for emergency evacuations, which includes having a full tank of gas, jumper cables, cell phone charger and blanket. Develop emergency kits for your family by considering everyone’s individual needs.

Assess your needs and make a plan. Every family has different needs that affect what steps to take to prepare everyone for a disaster. Whether you care for pets, children or someone with a medical condition or disability, it’s important to know what the family needs to travel safely in an emergency evacuation. Figure out where you would go and what to bring when a disaster strikes.

Don’t forget your pets in your planning

dog holding water or food bowl
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June is National Pet Preparedness Month. Ahead of an emergency, consider microchipping your pets or having a collar with tags to help locate them if they go missing. Stay up to date on pet vaccines.

When traveling during an emergency evacuation, pets should have their own emergency kit. Pets should be appropriately contained or harnessed during car rides and should not be in the front seat. Don’t leave pets alone in a parked vehicle.

Pet emergency kit: have the following items in a sturdy container ready to go ahead of a disaster:

  • Leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that they can’t escape
  • Food, drinking water, bowls, cat litter/pan and a can opener if your pet eats canned food
  • Medications and copies of medical records for each pet — which should also be digitized — stored in a waterproof container
  • Current photos of you with your pets in case they get lost to help eliminate mistaken identity and confusion
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you must foster or board your pets
  • Pet bed and toys

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.