Disaster Tips

Disaster Planning

When a disaster of any kind strikes, you want to make sure you’re prepared for anything. You'll also want to make sure you don't forget about your companion animals. 

How do I prepare?

  • Plan to take pets with you. If it’s not safe for you to stay, it’s not safe for them.
  • Realize that most Red Cross shelters cannot accept pets due to health and safety concerns; however, service animals are allowed.
  • Gather a list of hotels who accept pets in an emergencies. Ask if hotels can waive no-pet policies in an emergency. Call ahead for reservations if your evacuation is planned and you have time.
  • Know which friends, relatives, boarding facilities or veterinarians will board or temporarily house pets for you.
  • Although your animals may be more comfortable together, realize you may need to house them separately.
  • Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current and that everyone is wearing sturdy collars with up to date identification. Use your cell phone number as a contact, or a friend or relative’s number in a “safe zone.” Think about permanent identification that can’t get lost – like a microchip. Many pet shelters or boarding kennels require vaccinations to help control disease spread.

What should I do now?

Assemble an evacuation kit that is portable and easy to grab: leashes for dogs, carriers for cats and pocket pets, a supply of food plus bowls, cat litter and litter box, a can opener if needed, potty bags, medications, vaccination records and photos in a plastic bag, and if easily transportable, beds and toys. Photos help identify your pet if you’re separated. Vaccination records will help if you need to board your animal.

Know what to do as disaster approaches

  • If warnings are issued, call ahead to confirm emergency shelter arrangements.
  • Make sure everyone is wearing identification.
  • Put your disaster kit where you can easily grab it.
  • Bring pets inside so they are easily located should you need to move quickly.

In the event you need to evacuate immediately

  • If you leave, take your pets with you – even if you think it will only be for a few hours. Once you leave, you have no way of knowing how soon you will be able to return, if you can return, to reclaim pets.
  • Put cats in carriers, or in an emergency, use a pillowcase and knot the end. Kitty can still breathe but will be easily handled by you and emergency teams.
  • Put small dogs in crates or on leash and big dogs on leashes, or in an emergency, anything that will attach to the collar that you can use to lead him to safety.
  • Make sure everyone is wearing identification
  • Questions? Contact NHS Animal Control Dispatch at 402-444-7800, option 1.

Want to help?

View the list of items we need when a disaster strikes.