When Disaster Strikes: Don’t Forget to Include Pets in Your Planning!

Space Station view of Hurricane Florence

“We cannot stop natural disasters but we can arm ourselves with knowledge: so many lives wouldn’t have to be lost if there was enough disaster preparedness.”
~ Petra Němcová
Co-founder and vice chair of All Hands And Hearts—Smart Response

The recent Hurricane Florence—whose tragically disruptive effects are still being felt in the Carolinas weeks after it made landfall on September 14, 2018—is a stark reminder of the importance of emergency preparedness, not just for the personal safety of ourselves and family members, but also for the animals in our care. After all, dogs, cats, and other types of pets with whom we share our homes are very much considered “family”; and, as such, they deserve to be included in our disaster planning.

The biggest challenge, of course, lies in the fact that the term disaster planning is an oxymoron: disasters, almost by definition, are never planned. Whether fire or flood, blizzard or hurricane, tornado or terrorist attack, they tend to occur unexpectedly, creep up on us with little warning, and create a whole host of possible life-threatening scenarios we can never fully anticipate. The best one can do, then, is try and prepare for the most likely of those scenarios.

Here are three steps you can take to help integrate your animals’ needs into your family’s overall emergency preparedness strategies. The rule of thumb is: what’s best for you generally is what will be best for your pet(s).
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