It's never too late to prepare an emergency evacuation plan for your family and pets. Bushfires raging across Australia to date have burned more than 14 million acres, and with the fire season in Australia far from over, it's shaping up to be the most intense in our country's history.
Follow our steps below to ensure you and your pets are ready to evacuate should an emergency threaten your home.
Include Your Pets In Your Emergency Plan
When writing your emergency plan, don’t forget to include your pets! You should identify multiple pet-friendly evacuation points and a list of nearby boarding facilities if you are unable to take your pet to an evacuation centre. List the phone numbers for evacuation centres and boarding facilities in your emergency plan and make contact with them before you evacuate to confirm you are able to bring your pets.
Emergency Season Preparations
In Australia, summer means cyclones and bushfires impact much of the country. Before the warmer weather arrives, it is important to ensure your pets ID tags and microchip details are up to date with your current contact information so you can be reached if you become separated in an emergency. It is also a great time to check your pet’s vaccinations are up to date as many boarding facilities will not accept pets that do not have current vaccination records.
Prepare to Leave
If an emergency arises in your area, consider evacuating your pets to a friend, foster carer or boarding facility away from the emergency before you are told to evacuate. This will lessen how much you need to do when told to evacuate and you will have less to worry about.
If you do not evacuate your pets in the early stages of an emergency, start preparing to leave. Tie up your pet or bring them inside. Pack your emergency kit and other important items in the car so you are ready to leave at a moments notice. Check your pets collar and ID tags are secure. Take current photos for easy identification. Stay informed by watching the TV or listening to your local radio station and be ready to leave if you are instructed to.
What To Pack In Your Pet Emergency Kit
- Enough food and bottled water for up to 2 weeks. Bring food that does not require refrigeration and don’t forget bowls and a can opener if needed
- Enough of your pet’s medication for up to 2 weeks and information about any medical conditions
- Collar with ID tag, leash, harness or secure carrier
- Blanket, bedding, brushes and toys
- Kitty litter and litter tray and/or doggy poop bags
- In a waterproof bag include your pets microchip details, registration certificate, vaccination details, a current photo, any other important documents, contact details for your regular veterinarian, local shelters and any information or advisory services
What To Do If You Can’t Take Your Pets
In some cases, where emergencies arise quickly it might not be possible to take your pets with you. You should not abandon your pets unless it is impossible to evacuate them. If you are instructed to evacuate immediately and leave your pets behind, do not tie them up or lock them in cages or paddocks. This ensures they are able to flee if they need to. Leave a note on your front door with the details of any pets left behind and your contact details. If you have time, leave enough food and water for up to a week.
Planning ahead for an emergency saves time and lives. While we all hope that we will never be impacted by an emergency, you should practice your evacuation procedures regularly to ensure you and your pets are ready.
UPDATE (06/01/2020) - Bushfires - Wildlife Update / Emergency Plan
As our country continues to burn the unfathomable loss of Australia’s wildlife is devastating. It's been reported that at least half a million animals including kangaroos, koalas, snakes, lizards and various bird species have perished since fires started burning at the beginning of the bushfire season.
Most wildlife organizations rely solely on funding from the public and they are overwhelmed right now. Please donate to the following organisations if you can and share this post with your friends and family.
Both organisations distribute funds to carers across the states and provide direct emergency assistance on the ground. Alternatively, you can direct your support to other groups involved in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.
WIRES also have a detailed and informative Emergency Wildlife Rescue Guide you can read here.