Animals in EmergenciesAnimals in Emergencies
If nothing else, recent natural disasters both here in New Zealand and around the world have shown we all need a plan for an emergency or disaster situation.
The same applies to our pets, and we need to have a plan for them. Every home is vulnerable in an emergency, and in homes containing pets, advance preparation for them is as important as it is for other members of your family.
Have a plan
If you have an emergency plan, the chances are you won’t be in the situation many have found themselves in natural disasters worldwide. You would have evacuated early and have been prepared for dealing with your animals.
We want you to take your pet with you should you have to leave your home or the area. Your pet cannot survive without you and you may not be able to return to your property for several days.
A get-away kit is a 'grab-and-run' kit, full of items that will allow you to look after your pets in the heat of the moment immediately after a disaster. Ideally you should store this by your back door, or in an easily accessible place.
Your get-away kit should include:
- Carry boxes for transporting your pets that need it
- Lead or rope
- Vaccination, veterinary records, and photographs of your animals
- A blanket
- Bottled water
- A bowl
- Some food and treats
- Plastic bags/doggie bags
- Collar and large name tag, to include the animals name, address and telephone number
- A first aid kit for animals and a basic animal aid first aid book
In evacuation emergencies such as the New Orleans floods, victims were unable to evacuate with their beloved pets and many chose to remain behind with their animals.
If you have to leave without taking your pet it is essential the animal is microchipped beforehand, as your pet will be a lot easier to locate when you return. The recent Christchurch earthquakes had a very successful relocation rate for animals that were microchipped.
There are three essential steps that you should take in preparation for any emergency:
- Creat an emergency plan
- Prepare a get-away kit
- Prepare a full survival kit, including provisions for your animals
Pet Disaster Survival Kit
Should you have to leave or are in a situation where water, power and food supplies are limited or unavailable, you need to be prepared. This is where a survival kit comes in handy.You may not be in a position to get it during the initial emergency but you may be able to secure it afterwards, and it may be the crucial difference in the survival of your pet.
- A pet carrier or crate
- Pet collar, lead and/or harness
- Extra rope
- Extra towels or blankets
- Another set of pet identification documents – a collar and tag with your contact number, if your pet is not microchipped
- Enough food and water for seven days
- Enough medication (if needed) for seven days
- Extra bowls for food and water
- A tin opener
- Photos of your pet
- Emergency contact list for your local authorities, vet and animal rescue centre
- Litter tray and litter (for cats)
- Doggie bags
- Cleaning solution
- Container to carry everything
- A first aid kit for animals and a basic animal aid first aid book.
Above all, make sure you and your family are safe, but always remember your pets - they deserve your attention too.
National Rescue Unit
SPCA's National Rescue Unit (NRU) is comprised of a group of internationally qualified emergency response volunteers who provide a technical rescue service for trapped animals, as well as responding to disasters that may strike.
Wellington SPCA's Animal Rescue Unit (ARU) comprises of a group of internationally qualified emergency response volunteers who provide a technical rescue service for trapped animals, as well as responding to disasters that may strike.
Wellington SPCA founded the ARU in 1995 and is the only SPCA in New Zealand and Australia to have such a specialist rescue capability, epitomised by the rescue of over 70 animals from the red zone immediately following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
Find out more about Wellington's Animal Rescue Unit here