This site was created in cooperation with the Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Committee, and is supported by funding from the Department of Homeland Security.
by Sandy Scheiss, Fire Chief, Independence, Mo.
The best way to protect your family from the effects of a disaster is to have a disaster plan. If you are a pet owner, that plan must include your pets. Being prepared can save their lives.
Different disasters require different responses, but whether the disaster is a flood or a hazardous spill, you may have to evacuate your home. If you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too. Leaving pets behind, even if you try to create a safe place for them, is likely to result in their being injured, lost or worse. So prepare now for the day when you and your pets may have to leave your home.
Red Cross disaster shelters cannot accept pets because of states’ health and safety regulations and other considerations. Service animals that assist people with disabilities are the only animals allowed in Red Cross shelters. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to find shelter for your animals in the midst of a disaster, so plan ahead. Do not wait until disaster strikes to do your research.