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(Source: FEMA) — If you are like the thousands of animal owners in the Island, your pet is an important member of your household. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency, such as a fire or a flood depends largely on emergency planning done today. Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge you to have a disaster plan for your pets.
“Individuals and families with pets must include them on their household disaster plans,” said FEMA’s Caribbean Area Division Director, Alejandro De La Campa. “Early preparation is key for adequate handling of pets in a disaster. We advise entire families, including their pets, to be ready before an evacuation order.”
Before the Disaster: Have a Safe Place to Take Your Pets
Plan your evacuation strategy and don’t forget your pet! Local veterinarians or organizations can be contacted for information on preparing household pets for an emergency.
Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm’s way are all potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.
Prepare a list of facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone numbers.
Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets in a disaster. Animal shelters may be overburdened caring for the animals they already have, as well as those displaced by a disaster, so this should be your last resort.
If you have no option but to leave your pet in the house while you are gone, make sure it is in a safe place. Also, leave a sign that specifies how many pets are in the house and what type of pets they are.
Contact hotels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size, and species. Ask if “no pet” policies could be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of “pet friendly” places, including phone numbers, with other disaster information and supplies. If you have notice of an impending disaster, call ahead for reservations.
Prepare a portable disaster supply kit for your pet and keep it in an accessible place.
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