Recent and ongoing wildfires throughout California prove the point: An emergency playbook for you and yours is a critical component of any family plan. But what about pets? When disaster strikes and evacuation plans come into play, dogs, cats, and other family friends need food and shelter too. At a recent town-hall meeting, Sue Ziliotto, president of the Montecito Emergency Response and Recovery Action Group (aka MERRAG, pronounced “mirage”), outlined a handful of fairly simple steps pet owners can take to prepare their furry friends for an emergency.
Same as for humans, a three-day supply of food and water is standard for any pet-prep kit, Ziliotto said. It’s good to have all vaccination records, properly fastened ID tags and/or microchips, premade “lost” flyers in case your pet runs off, and a muzzle and leash to maintain control of your pet in panic situations. Also, she added, if you plan to board your pet during an evacuation, call the facilities in advance, as they can often reach capacity fairly quickly. Your pet could also be turned away if vaccinations aren’t up-todate. “A community that is better prepared for an emergency is the community that comes back sooner,” Ziliotto said.
During emergency events, such as the Thomas Fire, the Santa Barbara Humane Society and other nonprofits and government agencies offer free animal sheltering for evacuees.
For more information, visit the Santa Barbara Humane Society.