HAMPTON ROADS, Va. — Hurricane season is here. That means it’s time to put a plan in place in case of a disaster, and if you have a furry friend, don’t forget to plan for them, too.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) says the biggest danger to animals during a disaster is getting left behind.
“If your home is not going to be safe for you to be at, then the same thing is going to be said for your pet. You want to make sure that you include them in that emergency plan,” said VDEM Deputy Communications Director Jason Elmore.
June 1 was the start of hurricane season, and June is also National Pet Preparedness Month. Emergency and disaster relief agencies are reminding people to include their pets in their family emergency plan
In addition to food, water, medicine and leashes, the Ready campaign says other key emergency kit items for your pet are: A first aid kit, a collar with an ID tag, a picture of you and your pet together, a crate or sturdy carrier and familiar items like a favorite toysor treats.
Once that’s all together, VDEM says it’s imperative that pet owners plan ahead to identify a pet friendly place in case of an evacuation.
“If it's going to be your shelter, make sure that that shelter takes pets; some of them only allow service animals… if you have to go to a hotel, make sure that that hotel is acceptable to pets,” said Elmore.
With a plan in place, the final step is making sure everyone in the family understands the plan so there’s less stress during an emergency. Elmore says review the plan so everyone in the family knows their role.
Emergency managers say having a plan in place, having a kit packed and monitoring weather conditions will help ensure the entire family is prepared in case of an emergency.