Your animals are an important part of your family, so make sure you include them in your emergency plan. In the event of a disaster, if possible, do not leave them behind. If you must, put a note in the window for first-responders telling them your pet is inside and leave 5 days of water and food.
The Marin Humane Society has an emergency plan in coordination with the Marin County Office of Emergency Services and the American Red Cross. If you are directed to a Red Cross shelter, there will most likely be a Marin Humane Society representative there. However you are not allowed to keep an animal with you in the dormitory part of the shelter.
Prepare Before a Disaster
Marin Humane Society suggests the following preparations:
- Pet Identification: Make sure your pet’s license is current and a collar and identification tag are worn at all times. The best ID is a microchip which is permanently embedded in your pet. If they lose their collar, they can still be identified.
- Crate Train Your Pet: If your pet must be left with MHS due to evacuation, it is best if they have been crate trained. Keep cat and dog carriers in an easily accessible place in case you have to evacuate quickly. You can purchase soft carriers that fold flat and can be stored in your car trunk.
- Secure Birdcages and Fish Tanks: To prevent cages or tanks from falling over during an earthquake, keep them on low tables and secure if possible. Make sure the latch on a birdcage is tight so it doesn’t open in the event of a fall.
- Develop a Neighborhood Plan: Get to know your neighbors and their pets. Form a neighborhood group and share information such as home, work and mobile phone numbers, names of pets, and location of pet food. Ask one of your neighbors to care for your pet in the event you can’t get home.
Build a Kit for Your Pets Too!
If you have to evacuate, you will need a kit for your pets as well as your family. Keep the kit in a safe and easily accessible place. A pet on a leash or in a crate will be more welcome wherever you go.
Items to include:
- Sturdy crate and/or carrier
- Identification tag, collar and micro-chip for both dogs and cats
- Food/water (7-day supply for each pet)
- Soft, collapsible bowls
- Litter/litterbox and plastic bags for disposal
- Plastic bags for dog waste disposal
- Any medication your pets need
- Recent photo of your pet in case they are lost
For more information, download the Marin Humane Society Disaster Preparedness for Pets fact sheet in English or in Spanish from the Red Cross, Preparate con la Cruz Roja.
For large and farm animals, download the Marin Humane Society list specifically for this group.