Lately, our RVing friends had to respond quickly by evacuating during some difficult weather emergencies and even some wildfires. As RVers, we can more easily leave an emergency situation such as a tornado or hurricane if we know it’s coming. But when they strike unannounced we need to be prepared to evacuate with our pets, sometimes leaving our home-on-wheels to fend for itself.
A Pet’s “Go Bag”
Your pet should have a “go bag” just like you do. You should have it placed in a handy spot in your RV so it’s easy to grab on your way out during an emergency evacuation.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in cooperation with the American Kennel Club (AKC), The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and the Humane Society of the United States, came up with the following items to put into your pet’s emergency kit and/or go bag.
Food: FEMA suggests you have three days worth of food packed in a water-tight container or bag. I would suggest at least seven days. Remember to include a manual can opener if your pet eats wet food.
Water: You need to add water for your pet(s) to the emergency water supply you’d have for your family. Three to seven days worth should be a good start.
Medicines and Medical Records: Keep an updated list of medications with a supply of medication for your pet(s). Include a copy of your pet’s medical records with vaccination dates. Place these in a waterproof container or plastic bag.
First-Aid Kit: For a list of items to keep in your pet’s first-aid kit, read here. You may not need to have all first-aid items in the go bag if you keep the first-aid kit in a bag near other emergency supplies that are ready to go.
Collar with ID Tag, Extra Harness and Extra Leash: You need to keep your pet’s identification up-to-date and where it can be easily read on your pet (id tag, embroidered on collar, etc.). Microchips are recommended in case your pet gets separated from you in an emergency. You can use the extra harness and leash from your pet’s first-aid kit instead of supplying your pet’s go bag with one.
Crate or Carrier: You may need to evacuate in a hurry in an emergency. So, you should have a crate or carrier in an easily accessible place for quickly transporting your pets.
Sanitation: You will need to include litter and a litter box for pet(s) if appropriate. For clean-up, place plastic bags, paper towels, newspapers and household chlorine bleach in your pet’s go bag. Use bleach to disinfect pet areas (9 parts water to 1 part bleach), as well as purifying water (16 drops of bleach per 1 gallon of water). The bleach should be unscented, NOT color safe, and free of added cleaners.
Photo of Your Pet Together with You: The organizations who created this list suggest you have a picture of your pet and you together. Make sure the photo shows identifying characteristics of your pet. You need to write these characteristics and your pet’s age, color, breed, and sex on the back of the photo as well. This photo could help you prove ownership and help others to identify your pet.
Familiar Items: Toys, bedding, treats and even a piece of clothing that smells like you may help your pet during stressful emergencies. Include these in your pet’s go bag.
Regularly check your pet’s go bag to make sure food and medications are not expired. Replace when necessary.
If you have an “In Case Of Emergency” sticker on your RV for your pets, be sure to take it down or write Evacuated With Pets over it so emergency personnel will know you have your pets with you.
Your pets are your family and want to be with you. Having these items and a well-thought-out and practiced evacuation plan can make an emergency situation less stressful for everyone.
For information on making a “go bag” for humans, go to http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/survival-kit-supplies or https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit. Or, you can purchase one at https://amzn.to/2MeC5tp
We’d love to hear from you!
- Do you have a “go bag” for you and your pets?
- Do you keep anything in it that is not on the list above?
Let us know in the comments below, or submit a story we can share in our community story post!