Emergency planning for pets is an important part of emergency household preparations. Planning ahead is critical and greatly increases the likelihood of evacuating your pets to safety.
Have a Plan
It is important to include your pets and animals when developing your plan for emergencies including storms, bushfires, floods and heatwaves. Do not risk your own safety, and that of your family, trying to find or protect pets.
There are number of great planning resources to assist you plan:-
- Prepare your horse for bush fire (NSW RFS)
- Fire Safety for Your Pets (NSW RFS, Fire & Rescue NSW)
- FloodSafe for your pets and animals (NSW SES)
- Get Ready - business with animals in your care
Put your emergency plan into action early to protect your pets and animals. This will give you time to deal with unforeseen problems.
Do not wait for emergency warnings – they may come too late.
Animals will behave differently when disasters hit. They will pick up on your stress levels, and may panic and run. Removing them early will eliminate this issue.
Do not risk your own safety, and that of your family, trying to find or protect pets.
Remember if you need to evacuate, where practical, take your pets with you.
Evacuating with animals
You can bring your pets to evacuation centres for assistance with accommodation and other services if you have no other alternative. Your animal will need to be contained by a cage or lead, and you will need to bring your pet’s medications and emergency kit with you. You are responsible for your pet at all times.
There are several nominated evacuation centres across the Northern Beaches. An emergency evacuation centre venue will be determined by the location and type of emergency and will be communicated by 702 ABC Emergency Radio once it is determined by the emergency services.
Horses and other livestock
For horses and other livestock, Frenchs Forest Showground and Pittwater Rugby Park (Walsh Street entrance) may be used as emergency evacuation staging areas at any time. If you evacuate to these venues and council staff are not yet on-site, please call the NSW Department of Primary Industries on 1800 814 647 for assistance.
Owners with Stallions should consider alternative arrangements as they may unsettle other horses in the evacuation area. Make contact with other agistment properties to see if they can provide temporary accommodation for your horse and include it in your emergency plan.
Owners are responsible for their animals at all times.
Pet checklist in an emergency
Safety of your animals is your responsibility. Being prepared for emergencies is crucial for keeping you and your pets safe.
- Are you self-sufficient for at least three days?
- Do you have a RSPCA emergency kit ready for your pet in case you need to evacuate?
- Is your pet identified (eg collar tag, cage label)?
- Can you relocate your pets quickly?
- What safe transport options and routes do you have (including backup options)?
- Do you have a safe place in your home or on your property?
- Do you have somewhere else to go that’s out of danger eg at family or friends?
- Can a neighbour or friend enact your plan when you are not home?
- Ensure your pets wear collars and tags at all times. Tags should include the animal’s name, owner’s name and up-to-date phone numbers.
- Ensure your pets are microchipped and registered.
- Ensure livestock, including horses, have a Property Identification Code.
- Have carry boxes (for smaller pets), leads (for dogs) and halters (for livestock) readily accessible. Familiarise your pets with these boxes and leads in advance.
- Include a secondary contact number on your pet’s ID tag or microchip record.
- Prepare a pet emergency kit using the information below.
- In addition to having a pet emergency kit, owners should have contingencies or arrangements in place for transporting their animals in emergencies. This extends to livestock where access to horse floats and trucks should be considered.
Leaving pets behind
Take your pets with you. If you have no option but to leave your pets behind during an emergency:
- Leave your pets indoors where possible.
- Place pets in separate rooms with small, or preferably no windows.
- Provide adequate food and water in large heavy bowls to last at least three days.
- If your pets must be left outside, do not tie them up. The area should be fenced to provide protection from other hazards, namely roadways.
Pet emergency kit
- Collars, harnesses, leads, saddles
- Cages, pet carriers, horse floats or trucks, vans
- Food, water and bowls
- Blankets, bedding or nesting material
- Poo bags or litter and litter trays for cats
- Photographs of your pets in zip lock bags
- Registration papers
- Vaccination certificates
Further advice on pet safety during emergencies from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).