If you own pets, preparing for a disaster, be it flood, fire or storm, means taking care of everyone in your home – including the critters. Knowing what to do with your pets before disaster strikes will save you time, reduce chaos and quite possibly save their lives. As you would do for people, putting aside emergency supplies and having your pet’s documents in order before an emergency is vital. “First and foremost, make sure [pets] have up-to-date identification,” says Justin Khosrowabadi, public relations specialist for the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services. Many owners had to abandon their pets during the evacuations forced by wildfires. It makes the process of checking them into evacuation centres and returning them to you much easier. “And of course if they’re lost, it’s the best way to bring them home.” The agency encourages people to train cats, dogs and other small and medium-size pets to feel comfortable in carriers or portable kennels, as “it will reduce a lot of time and stress when evacuating,” Khosrowabadi said. And be sure to have a pet evacuation kit ready. Here’s what you can do to help prepare small and large animals for a disaster in your community, according to the LA Department of Animal Services and the National Fire Protection Association: Preparing for emergencies Before an emergency strikes: ● Microchip your pets and make sure they have proper and up-to-date identification. If you’re separated from your animals, a microchip will increase your chances of reuniting with them. ● Include phone numbers of out-of-area friends or family in your microchip registration. It’s a good idea to include alternate contacts in case you can’t be reached. ● Find pet-friendly lodgings. Contact hotels and motels in and outside of your city and ask if they accept pets during emergencies. Have a list of the ones that do. Don’t get into debt paying vet bills ● Do the same for boarding facilities. Know where they are and visit them. ● Get your pet used to being in a kennel. It’ll make it easier to transport them. ● Paste a rescue alert sticker visibly on one of your home’s windows with the number and species of animals in your household. (If you take your pets with you when you leave, write “Evacuated” on the sticker.) Making a small–animal evacuation kit It should contain: ● A cage or portable kennel for each animal in your household displaying your name, address and phone number ● Pet food and treats. If the food is canned, make sure they have peel tops. Check expiration dates regularly and rotate as needed. ● Blankets ● Leash, harness and collar ● Water, at least five gallons per animal. This should be good for a week. ● Medication ● Copies of medical and immunisation records ● Recent photos of your pets in case they go missing or you need to provide proof of ownership ● Cat litter and litter pan ● Toys ● Plastic bags for pet waste The truth about life as a vet – it’s not all puppies and kittens Preparing large animals for emergencies Preparing larger animals for evacuation will require more planning and supplies. Here are some tips from both agencies: ● Microchip the animal or wrap an identification bracelet around one of its feet. ● Train your horse or other large animal to load into a trailer. ● If possible, make previous arrangements for boarding at stables outside of your city. ● Store important documents and paperwork in cloud storage or several hard drives. It’s a good idea to give one to a friend or family who lives outside of your community. Make a large-animal evacuation kit Include the following: ● Food ● Drums or barrels of water, enough for at least three days. Rotate regularly if needed to keep them fresh ● A list of all medicines and their doses and if possible, an extra supply of medication. Make sure to check their expiration dates regularly. ● Rope and or leather halters. Don’t use nylon halters. They can melt from extreme heat and burn the animal. ● Important documents and paperwork ● Copies of ownership records ● Vaccination and health records ● Microchip paperwork ● Identification ● Photos of brands ● Photos of your large animal that show any distinctive marks or tattoos. In most countries, if there’s an emergency and evacuations are ordered, evacuation sites for horses and other large animals will be activated. It is never recommended that you leave your large animal behind or let it loose during an emergency. Find out if there is any assistance for large animal evacuations. If you have a horse and absolutely can’t evacuate with it and have to set it loose, the US National Fire Protection Association suggests you make sure to mark or attach your contact information on it by: ● Shaving it into its coat ● Braiding an identification tag into its mane ● Attaching it onto a neck band ● Writing it on its side with spray paint or a livestock marker This article was curated by Young Post . Better Life is the ultimate resource for enhancing your personal and professional life.