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Evacuation essentials for pet owners

During an emergency, British Columbians are responsible for more than just their own personal safety.

They need to consider how they will keep their pets, animals and other furry friends safe as well. It’s important to know how to prepare for an emergency and where you can get help with your animals during an evacuation.

In addition to having a 72-hour emergency kit for your family, you must also prepare one for your pet. Preparing in advance will increase the likelihood that your animals remain safe and healthy during an emergency.

Your pet survival kit should include:

* 72-hour food supply including bowls and a can opener if required

* 72-hour supply of water for your pet

* Leash, harness, muzzle

* Pet carrier

* Medical and vaccination records, medication and veterinarian contact information

* ID tags and microchip number

* Blankets and toys

Before an evacuation, find out what resources are available in your community for pets and animals during an emergency. It may be possible to preregister with the local emergency animal rescue group in your area so members can assist you in preparing for your animals during an emergency.

If emergency officials order your community to evacuate to a safer location, it’s important to remember that if it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’s not safe for pets to remain there either. Make the evacuation reception centre your first point of contact and ask them to put you in touch with any local animal assistance organization. Experienced volunteers at Emergency Social Services reception centres will receive pets at reception centres and move them to a safe place where they will be cared for until you’re able to care for them.

The Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team (CDART) was on hand at the reception centre in the District of West Kelowna to support more than 2,500 residents affected by the Smith Creek wildfire. CDART assisted with more than 250 animals including dogs, cats, chickens, turkeys, pigeons, horses, fish and pet birds by finding foster care for animals brought to reception centres.

Learn more:

For up-to-date information on evacuation orders and public safety notices, visit your local authority information sources and: www.EmergencyInfoBC.gov.bc.ca

For more details about CDART supports and activities, visit: http://www.cdart.org/index.htm

For individuals concerned about livestock during an evacuation, visit: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/emergency/Evacuation/Evacuation.htm

For more information about animal care, visit: http://bit.ly/UkyM8C

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