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Make an Evacuation Plan for Your Pets in Advance of Wildfire Season

Ten tips to help you prepare your pets and animals for wildfire season

 

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Pet owners in Galicia, Spain, watching a wildfire approach their residences

With summer and warmer temperatures around the corner, the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) reminds all pet owners to prepare for wildfire season. Preparing in advance and making an emergency plan can make all the difference when faced with evacuation during a wildfire incident. While DACC encourages all pet owners to prepare, DACC encourages guardians of livestock and horses to be mindful of the additional challenges and considerations these animals require.

Ten tips to help you prepare your pets and animals for wildfire season:

1. Have an emergency plan for each pet: where will you go, who will take care of them, and how you will transport them. Make a list with contact information, transportation routes, and back-up plans.

2. Research pet-friendly hotels and lodging and keep the list current. Reach out to friends and family outside the area to find out if you will be able to stay with them during an emergency.

3. Engage with your community: network with neighbors, on community websites, and apps to make connections with other pet owners. This can help you share resources and make a unified plan.

4. Get your animals microchipped with up-to-date contact information in the registry, an important step that many people forget. Have visible identification such as collars and tags whenever possible and safe to do so.

5. Prepare a minimum of a three-day supply of food and water for each animal.

6. For small animals, have an assembled emergency "go-kit" ready at all times. Include medications, medical records, licensing records, a photo of the animal, collar, leash, carrier, and any comfort items that will help your pet. Make sure exotics and birds have appropriate housing and food.

7. For large animals, train them to load into trailers prior to an emergency. Practice loading and unloading them. Gather any records, documents, and special items they may need.

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Pets at a shelter for wildfire evacuees

8. Have proper transportation to transport your animals. This is especially important for large animals. Make sure you know how you will transport your animals and that all information is current. Conduct safety checks on horse and livestock trailers to ensure they are fully operational and ready to be used in an emergency.

9. Practice your plan. Make sure all family members and pets are familiar with the plan and what's expected of them.

10. Evacuate early! Don't wait until the last minute; activate your plan while roads are still open to avoid traffic delays.

"Having an emergency preparedness plan in place for your animals is critical to protecting them during emergencies," said Marcia Mayeda, DACC Director. "Properly designed emergency plans will ensure your peace of mind and your animals' well-being."

For more information on emergency preparedness and response visit https://animalcare.lacounty.gov/emergency-response/.

 

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