© 2003 Allie Phillips

Many of us have a home plan in the event of a disaster or emergency (i.e., exit route, important papers ready to grab or in a safe). But have you made a plan for your pets if disaster strikes? The recent gas-explosion fires in San Bruno, California should make us stop and think of what we would in that event. Regardless of the emergency or disaster, you should always evacuate with your pets so long as you can do so safely. Prepare ahead of time by having a disaster-preparedness bag filled with items that your pet will need, such as vaccination records, microchip records, medication (even just the information to get a refill), food, water, collars, leashes, and a favorite blanket or bed). These items can be easily tucked into a backpack and left in a closet near an exit to your house. For cats and other small animals, be sure to have carriers available near an exit. It is devastating when disaster strikes and you lose your home and all your belongings; it is even more devastating when you lose loved ones (including family pets). Take a little time and create a disaster-preparedness plan for your pet. Hopefully you will never need it, but you will be glad that you have it available.