Fires, Floods and Tornadoes. Oh My!

by Donna Crock, CAS Board Member

September 27, 2017

This month, we welcome guest blogger, Donna Crock who shares some important information on pet preparedness. Donna is a Cheyenne Animal Shelter Board Member and serves on the Education Committee.

No matter where you live, there is always potential for a disaster. September is National Preparedness Month. No one thinks clearly in a panic. Do you have an updated pet preparedness plan to reference in case of an emergency or disaster? If you don’t, take a few minutes to make one from the information in this blog. If you have children, get the whole family involved. Make it a fun weekend project.

An emergency plan including a checklist of items can be hand written or an electronic document. If an unforeseen situation happens, your plan will guide you step by step, use a marker to check off each item on the list after you complete it.

Review or update the list yearly. Keep a copy online and a hard copy in a protective plastic cover. Store it inside your emergency kit container.

ID: All pets should be micro-chipped and their information updated yearly. Have collars with tags. Have leashes and harnesses for each pet. If pets do not usually wear a collar or harness, store one in a sturdy, airtight and waterproof emergency storage container. You may also store it along with bottles of water and other essential items.

Assemble a pet emergency kit. Items to consider include:

  • First-aid kit specifically for pets
  • Paper towels, towels, foil/space blanket,
  • familiar toys
  • Litter, scoop and small litter box
  • Food in watertight containers, can opener,
  • bottled water, unbreakable food and water
  • bowls
  • All pet meds and prescriptions, copies of vet records and/or proof of ownership
  • Small plastic garbage bags for used litter and garbage
  • Plastic tarp, large plastic garbage bags,
  • flashlight, extra batteries in sealed plastic bag.

If you do not want to store items with expiration dates such as medications, keep them separate and note them on your PLAN.

In case you lose cell phone contact, keep a hard copy of important information with a waterproof cover including contact information for your vet and emergency vet, designated caregivers or pet sitters, friends and neighbors, the Cheyenne Animal Shelter, etc. Make sure a pet sitter or someone you trust has a key/security codes to your home.

Keep carriers (one carrier per pet) with bedding near the emergency container or other easy to access location. Tape your pet’s photo with contact information inside the carrier (laminate or place in protective, waterproof sleeve).
Get or make a rescue alert sticker to place on your front door or front window that is easily visible to rescue workers. It should include the number and types of pets in your home. Possibly include the name and number of your veterinarian.

Make an exit plan in advance. Find out which motels or hotels in your area accept pets. Websites such as have quick information on pet friendly accommodations.

Listen to the radio for weather reports. If you have no electricity or Internet service, you cannot rely on the web or social media. A battery or crank-operated radio works well.

If given orders to evacuate your home, do not leave your pet behind. Do not wait until the conditions are extreme. If you have no choice, leave “Pets Inside” stickers or notes on doors and windows with contact information. If you have evacuated with your pets, leave a note on the door saying “Evacuated with pets.” Have a plan with your neighbors to check up on each other.
If you are staying at your home, keep all pets (with their carriers and supplies) in one room or part of the house where the doors and windows are secured. Remove any sharp, toxic or dangerous items from the room.

Keep your vehicle serviced and gassed up. If you are taking public transportation or other means, place as many needed items possible in a large wheeled suitcase with the pet carrier on top. Bungee cords are handy for securing. Place an article of clothing like a worn t-shirt that smells of you inside the pet carrier and other familiar items, such as treats, toys and bedding. These can help reduce stress for your pet.

Above all, stay calm and be prepared. Humans and animals have survived every kind of disaster for many years.

Additional disaster preparedness considerations can be found on the ASPCA website:

Help protect pets by spreading the word about disaster preparedness. Download, print and share FEMA’s brochure:

And be sure to share this post with your friends and family!