Monday, October 21, 2013
An emergency could happen at any time. It's critical you prepare now to ensure your animals are protected from disasters that may place your animals in danger, including bushfires, extreme weather and storms. We hope the information below is helpful and encourages you to not only prepare for an evacuation now, but implement a practice run through of your emergency evacuation plan before it's needed.
To find more useful information about planning for and responding to emergencies, evacuating with animals, recovering from emergencies, emergency animal disease and other useful articles, please visit the DPI (Deparment of Primary Industries) website.
In the event of a disaster, you will need to act quickly so a strategic plan for your animals is critical.
Preparing your pets for evacuation
Does your pet’s microchip details have your current contact information including your mobile phone number? If the disaster affects your local area, is your microchip alternative contact in a different suburb? Microchips will help reunite you with lost dogs, cats and horses if you become separated - confirm your pets' details are up-to-date.
Does your pet have clear identification including name and council registration tags? Fear may cause your animal to behave differently in an emergency situation, particularly if it can smell smoke or hear a disaster approaching. It may escape despite your best efforts, so clear identification with your pet’s name and your mobile number is critical.
Is your pet fully vaccinated and wormed? Many boarding facilities will require proof of vaccination before accepting your pet for temporary accommodation.
Where will you evacuate your pet to? Determine where you will evacuate your pets to now, whether that is a friend’s property or a boarding facility at an animal welfare shelter in a low risk area. When considering a shelter as a refuge for your pet, it's important to keep in mind summer is the busiest time of year for stray and abandoned animals and they may have limited capacity to assist. Contact your local RSPCA for more info.
Relocating your pet before a high risk day
Ensure your pet is contained when there is a high risk of emergency and consider relocating it as a precaution. It is safer to relocate your pet to temporary accommodation early rather than risking its safety.
Determining an emergency guardian
Identify someone close by who can action your evacuation plan if you are not home. This person may be a neighbour who is home during the day and a trusted person who you can leave keys with.
How will you transport your animals? Do you have a carry cage that is suitable for your small animals? Dogs and small animals should be kept with you (dogs on leads at all times) but cats are best relocated to temporary emergency accommodation for their own safety, such as a veterinary clinic, boarding facility or shelter. Transporting your horses will require more preparation so it is best to temporarily relocate or agist them on another property during high risk seasons.
What route will you take to drive there and what if that route is blocked? Consider various access routes to exit the dangerous zones in your suburb.
Assembling a pet emergency kit
Ensure you have an emergency kit packed to provide for your pet’s needs. Refer to our emergency check list for a list of items you should pack in preparation.
If you have been advised by emergency services to stay in your home, it is crucial that you keep your pets with you and ensure your pet emergency kit is close at hand.
Preparing livestock and horses
Wherever you choose to evacuate livestock and horses, it is critical you do so early, use suitable transport and gather all the items needed for your animals’ stay including temporary fencing.
If you are unable to evacuate your livestock or horses, it's important you prepare a safe place for them to reside. This area should be large, have minimal vegetation, preferably contain a dam and have room for the animals to move freely. Confining livestock and horses or giving the animals access to roads may compromise their safety. If possible, please tag the side of your livestock or horses with an identification number.
Prepare your animals before leaving the property by providing access to food and clean water in containers that are resistant to fire. Remove any equipment that may cause discomfort or pose a greater risk during the emergency, including horse rugs.
For more information on assisting wildlife during a disaster, please contact WIRES.
For more information on disaster readiness, please contact the RFS, DPI, Australian Emergency Management and the Australian Red Cross.