Whether it’s a large-scale natural catastrophe or an unforeseen emergency that causes you to leave your home temporarily, everyone’s family can benefit from having a household evacuation plan in place before the disaster strikes. Every disaster plan must include your pets!

The Humane Society of the United States offers the following tips to pet owners designing an emergency safety plan:

If you have to evacuate your home. NEVER leave your pets behind! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own; and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return home.

For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in your area allow pets -- well in advance of needing them. Include your local animal shelter and humane society telephone numbers in your emergency numbers, they might be able to provide information concerning pets during a disaster. Both the city and county as well as the humane society have a plan of action in case of an emergency.

Make sure identification tags are up to date and securely fastened to your pet’s collar. Make sure the collar is properly fitted so it will not come off, making sure however it is not too tight. If possible make sure the identification tags have up-to-date address and phone numbers on them. If possible attach the address and or phone number of your evacuation site. Make sure you have an up to date photo of your pet for identification purposes. A photo of you with your pet is even better.

Be sure you have a secure pet carrier; leash or harness is even better for your pet so that if he/she should panic, they can’t escape.

Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, can opener, food dishes, First aid kit and other supplies such as beds, blankets in case they are not available later. While the sun is still shining, consider packing a “pet survival” kit, which could be easily deployed if a disaster hits.

If you are not able to return to your home right away you may need to board your pet. Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet’s medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current. Include copies in your “pet’s survival” kit along with a photo of your pet.

If it is impossible to take your pet with you to a temporary shelter, contact friends, family, veterinarians, or boarding kennels to arrange for care. Make sure medical and feeding information, food; medicine and other supplies accompany your pet to his foster home.

If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your pet in great danger! Confine your pet to a safe area inside NEVER leave your pet chained outside! Place a notice outside in a visible area advising what pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached as well as the name and number of your vet.

Not only are pets affected by a disaster, but the other animals in the disaster area are affected as well. The Humane Society of the United States offers these basic tips for people who encounter wildlife or have livestock on their property.

Wildlife often seeks higher ground that, during floods eventually becomes submerged and the animals become stranded. Animals have a flight response and will flee from anyone approaching too closely.

If the animal threatens to rush into the water, back away from the area or you may cause the frightened animal to jump into the water to escape from you.

Wild animals often seek refuge from floodwaters on upper levels of a home and may remain inside even after the water recedes. If you meet a rat or snake face to face, be careful but don’t panic.

Open a window or other escape route and the animal will probably leave on its own. Never attempt to capture a wild animal unless you have the training, protective clothing, restraint equipment, and caging necessary to perform the job.

If you see an injured or stranded animal in need of assistance, or you need help with evicting an animal from you home, please contact the Game Commission.

Evacuate livestock whenever possible, arrangements for evacuation including routes and host sites, should be made in advance. Alternate routes should be mapped out in case the planned route is inaccessible. The evacuation sites should have or be able to readily obtain food, water, veterinary care, handling equipment and facilities.

Trucks, trailers and other vehicles appropriate for transporting each specific type of animal, should be available along with experienced handlers and drivers to transport them. Whenever possible, the animals should be accustomed to these vehicles in advance so they’re less frightened and easier to move. If evacuation is not possible, a decision must be made whether to move large animals to available shelter or turn them outside. This decision should be based on the type of disaster and the soundness and location of the shelter.

All animals should have some form of identification that will help facilitate their return. Your disaster plan should include a list of emergency phone numbers for local agencies that can assist you if a disaster strikes. These numbers should be kept with your disaster kit, in a secure, but easily accessible place.

Emporia Greensville Humane Society is having their Boston Butt fundraiser on October 5 & 6. If you would like a Boston butt with sauce please call 634-3296; all proceeds go to EGHS for the animals’ care. We have sold over a 100 so far and thanks to everyone who has purchased one, without your support we would not be able to continue to help the animals.