TRANSCRIPT: Preparedness for Pet Owners.

Hello. This is Sandy Scheiss, Fire Chief in Independence, Missouri.

If you’re like millions of other animal owners across the country, your pet is an important member of your household. The best way to protect your pets from the effects of a disaster is to have a disaster plan. Being prepared can save their lives.

Just as you would with your family’s emergency supply kit, think about the basics your pet will need for survival. This includes food, water, medicines and medical records, a first aid kit, a collar with an ID tag, a harness or leash, and a crate or other pet carrier.

Be sure to include items you’ll need for sanitation – such as a litter box, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and chlorine bleach.

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, take your pets with you if you can. But if you go to a public shelter, keep in mind your animals may not be allowed.

It may be difficult, if not impossible to find shelter for your animals in the midst of a disaster, so plan ahead. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to do your research.

Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include their 24-hour phone numbers.

Develop a buddy system with friends or neighbors to make sure that someone is available to care for your pets or evacuate them if disaster happens while you’re away from home.

Take a picture of you and your pet together, and keep it with your important papers. If you become separated from your pet during an emergency, a picture could help identify your pet and document ownership.

Take the time now to get yourself and your pet ready for an emergency, and you’ll have less stress and worry when the time comes.