Borrowed with permission from the Pet Evacuation Team of Central Oregon.
“Plan Ahead. It Wasn’t Raining When Noah Built The Ark.” (Richard Cushing)
It’s 2:30 AM. The doorbell frantically rings! There’s pounding on the door! “Sheriff’s office, open up!” The first thing you notice when you open the door is the smoke drifting in or visible in the distance. The deputy shouts, “Evacuate, now! The fire is 15 to 30 minutes away!”
This is what you’ve been dreading. Where are your dogs? Where are your cats? What about outdoor animals/livestock such as horses, goats, pigs, and chickens?
You already KNOW you live in wildfire country. No one in Oregon is immune from this threat.
Are you ready to evacuate? Being ready or not can be the difference between a life and death situation for you and your beloved animals.
So the question is: 1) Do you have crates ready for your pets? And have you crate-trained them in advance to make it less stressful for them and easier/faster for you to load them up? 2) Are your pets’ grab-and-go emergency bags complete, up to date, and accessible? 3) Have you refreshed the food and water that you packed for an emergency evacuation; these need to be periodically changed out. 4) Is your personal grab-and-go emergency bag complete, up to date (e.g., current meds, etc.) and accessible? You can’t help your pets as effectively if your own individual needs aren’t covered. 5) Do your pets have their collars/harnesses displaying current identification on them? (Large animals can also have I.D. put on them). 6) Is your gas tank full, so that if you’re stuck in traffic or in line for hours, you won’t run out of gas? 7) If you have livestock/large animals, have you created a well-rehearsed disaster plan for evacuating them? Are you ready to execute that plan when the FIRST LEVEL 1 Evacuation notice is delivered? It’s recommended that you evacuate as early as possible because handling/transporting large animals takes more time than most people realize; waiting too long can put you and them in extreme danger.
Put your disaster-preparedness planning at the top of your to-do list! Do it today; if you wait too long it may be too late. Visit petevacuationteam.com for information on disaster preparedness and evacuation planning for your pets and livestock.
- Vikki Sheerer, President Pet Evacuation Team