Disaster Preparedness Tips When you Have Pets and Livestock

Animals are our companions and for farmers, animals and livestock could be their livelihood.

In an emergency, your pets, farm animals and livestock rely on you to keep them safe. Take simple steps today to keep your animals safe in an emergency.

Planning for Your Pets

When making your emergency plan, consider your pets. Plan to bring your pets with you if you must evacuate. You might not be able to get to your pets in an emergency; consider having a buddy system with a neighbour, friend or family member that could care for or evacuate your pets if you’re not able to.

Pets are not allowed in all public shelters and hotels. We recommend your emergency plan include a list of pet-friendly hotels and/or pet boarding facilities in and outside of your local area.

We also suggest you get your pets microchipped; this is one of the best ways to be reunited with your pets if you get separated. Make sure to keep the linked contact information up to date so you’ll be contacted if your pet is found.

We also recommend packing an emergency kit unique to your pet that can be used whether you are sheltering in place or evacuating.

Learn more about pet preparedness.

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What to Pack in Your Emergency Kit

The following list includes the general items to consider, but customize your kit for your pet:

  • pet license
  • collar, harness, leash and muzzle
  • important documents such as identification records, vaccination records, insurance information and prescription medication information
  • photo of you and your pet together to help prove ownership
  • pet carrier, cage or crate
  • supply of food and water to last at least 72 hours with bowls
  • waste bags, litter box/tray with litter, bedding materials, and other sanitation supplies
  • blankets, towels and toys

Tip: store your pet items in the carrier or crate to make it easy to find and grab.

Planning for Farm Animals and Livestock

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Having farm animals and livestock brings unique challenges during an emergency. When building your emergency plan, consider the following:

  • Build a map and outline the buildings on the property and note key services (power and water sources), access points, equipment locations and dangerous chemical storage. Include a map in each building.
  • Set a meeting place or muster point in case an evacuation is ordered. Make sure everyone knows the location(s) and ensure there is feed, water and shelter for any animals you can evacuate. Consider seasonal weather impacts.
  • Create safe transportation methods. If possible, practice loading and transporting your animals.
  • Create an emergency contact list that includes neighbours, animal handlers/transporters, veterinarians and feed suppliers. Post this list in each building.
  • Register your livestock and poultry with Alberta Agriculture’s Traceability program to help local authorities protect your animals during an emergency.

Evacuating With Farm Animals

When you are told to evacuate, it can be a difficult decision knowing you have farm animals and livestock. Remember that authorities will only ask you to leave your home if they have reason to believe you are in danger.

Evacuating with your animals takes time. If you have enough time and the right equipment – such as corrals, chutes and trailers – you can evacuate with your animals. If you have time, haul feed and water to the evacuation location if needed. Also, make sure your animals are marked with a visual identifier for easy identification; use a semi-permanent livestock marker to write your cell phone number or draw a unique mark on their body.

If you are not able to evacuate with your farm animals, it’s equally as important to mark your animals with a visual identifier. You’ll also want to leave at least 72 hours of food and water that doesn’t need power to function. If you have time, open gates or reroute fencing to create a large area for the animals to move. Don’t keep animals in your barn; once they are out, keep the barn doors closed to prevent animals from going back inside where there could get trapped.

Learn more about farm animal and livestock preparedness.

View the SREMP website to learn more about how you can get prepared for an emergency.

SREMP is a partnership between Sturgeon County, Morinville, Gibbons, Redwater, Bon Accord and Legal. These municipalities work together to coordinate emergency preparedness, response and recovery from disasters.

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