Evacuation Essentials

Evacuation Essentials

The following lists will help you prepare for your animal(s) in the event of a disaster. The evacuation kit should be assembled in easy-to-carry, waterproof containers. It should be stored in an easily accessible location away from areas with temperature extremes. Replace the food, water, and medications as often as needed to maintain their quality and freshness and in accordance with the expiration dates. Indicate, if applicable, medications that are stored elsewhere due to temperature requirements such as refrigeration.

Consult your veterinarian for advice on making an animal evacuation kit and first aid kit that is appropriate for your individual animals. It is important that you become familiar with the items in your kit and their uses. Your veterinarian may recommend an animal first aid book to include in your kit. Consult your veterinarian regarding emergency first aid procedures and administration of any medications.

Small Animal Evacuation Kit

  • 2-week supply of food (dry & canned)
  • 2-week supply of water in plastic gallon jugs with secure lids
  • Batteries (flashlight, radio)
  • Cage/carrier (one for each animal, labeled with your contact information)
  • Can opener (manual)
  • Cat/wildlife gloves
  • Copies of veterinary records and proof of ownership
  • Emergency contact list
  • Familiar items to make pets feel comfortable (favorite toys, treats, blankets)
  • First aid kit (see next page)
  • Flashlight
  • Instructions
  • Diet: record the diet for each individual animal, including what not to feed in case of allergies.
  • Medications: list each animal separately, including dose and frequency for each medication. Provide veterinary and pharmacy contact information for refills.
  • Leash and collar or harness (for each animal)
  • Litter, litter pan, litter scoop
  • Maps of local area and alternate evacuation routes (in case of road closures)
  • Muzzles (dog or cat)
  • Newspaper (bedding, litter)
  • No-spill food and water dishes
  • Paper towels
  • Radio (solar and battery operated)
  • Spoon (for canned food)
  • Stakes and tie-outs
  • Trash bags  

Small Animal First Aid Kit

Consult your veterinarian when developing the first aid kit. The items below serve only as examples of what may be included in a small animal first aid kit.

  • Activated charcoal (liquid)
  • Anti-diarrheal liquid or tablets
  • Antibiotic ointment (for wounds)
  • Antibiotic eye ointment
  • Bandage scissors
  • Bandage tape
  • Betadine® (povidone-iodine) or Nolvasan® (chlorhexidine), scrub and solution
  • Cotton bandage rolls
  • Cotton-tipped swabs
  • Elastic bandage rolls
  • Eye rinse (sterile)
  • Flea and tick prevention and treatment
  • Gauze pads and rolls
  • Ice cream sticks (which may be used as splints)
  • Isopropyl alcohol/alcohol prep pads
  • Latex gloves or non-allergenic gloves
  • Liquid dish detergent (mild wound and body cleanser)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Medications and preventatives (such as heartworm prevention), minimum 2-week supply, with clearly labeled instructions. Provide veterinary and pharmacy contact information for refills.
  • Non-adherent bandage pads
  • Saline solution (for rinsing wounds)
  • Sterile lubricant (water based)
  • Styptic powder (clotting agent)
  • Syringe or eyedropper
  • Thermometer (digital)
  • Tourniquet
  • Towel and washcloth
  • Tweezers 

Livestock Evacuation Kit

  • 7-10 day supply of feed and water
  • Batteries (flashlight, radio)
  • Copies of veterinary records and proof of ownership
  • Cotton halter
  • Duct tape
  • Emergency contact list
  • Flashlight
  • Heavy gloves (leather)
  • Instructions
  • Diet: record the diet for your animals.
  • Medications: record the dose and frequency for each medication. Provide veterinary and pharmacy contact information for refills.
  • Knife (sharp, all-purpose)
  • Maps of local area and alternate evacuation routes (in case of road closures)
  • Nose leads
  • Plastic trash cans with lids (can be used to store water)
  • Portable livestock panels
  • Radio (solar and battery operated)
  • Rope or lariat
  • Shovel
  • Water buckets
  • Whip, prods
  • Wire cutters 

Equine Evacuation Kit

  • 7-10 day supply of feed, supplements, and water
  • Bandannas (to use as blindfolds)
  • Batteries (flashlight, radio)
  • Blankets
  • Copies of veterinary records and proof of ownership
  • Duct tape
  • Emergency contact list
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Fly spray
  • Grooming brushes
  • Heavy gloves (leather)
  • Hoof knife
  • Hoof nippers
  • Hoof pick
  • Hoof rasp
  • Instructions
  • Diet: record the diet for your animals.
  • Medications: record the dose and frequency for each medication. Provide veterinary and pharmacy contact information for refills.
  • Knife (sharp, all-purpose)
  • Leg wraps and leg quilts
  • Maps of local area and alternate evacuation routes (in case of road closures)
  • Non-nylon halters and leads (leather/cotton)
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic trash cans with lids (can be used to store water)
  • Radio (solar and battery operated)
  • Rope or lariat
  • Shovel
  • Tarpaulins
  • Trash bags
  • Twitch
  • Water buckets
  • Wire cutters 

Equine First Aid Kit

Consult your veterinarian when developing the first aid kit. The items below serve only as examples of what may be included in an equine first aid kit.

  • Antibiotic ointment (for wounds)
  • Antibiotic eye ointment
  • Bandage scissors
  • Bandage tape
  • Betadine® (povidone-iodine) or Nolvasan® (chlorhexidine), scrub and solution
  • Cotton bandage rolls
  • Cotton-tipped swabs
  • Elastic bandage rolls
  • Eye rinse (sterile)
  • Gauze pads and rolls
  • Isopropyl alcohol/alcohol prep pads
  • Latex gloves or non-allergenic gloves
  • Medications (minimum 2 week supply, with clearly labeled instructions)
  • Non-adherent bandage pads
  • Saline solution (for rinsing wounds)
  • Sterile lubricant (water-based)
  • Thermometer (digital)
  • Tincture of green soap
  • Tourniquet
  • Towel and washcloth
  • Tweezers 

Evacuating Other Types of Pets 

Identification, medical records, and proof of ownership are equally as important for other kinds of pets as for the aforementioned animals. Transportation of these species may require additional attention and care in order to decrease chances of stress-induced illness and death. It is important to keep pets from different sources as separate as possible and maintain the best possible hygiene in order to decrease disease transmission.

Birds

Transportation of pet birds is best accomplished using small, secure, covered carriers to avoid injury. If traveling in cold weather, always warm the interior of your vehicle before moving your bird(s) from the house to the vehicle.
 
Transfer your bird(s) to a standard cage upon arrival at the evacuation site; covering the cage may reduce stress; this transfer should occur in a small, enclosed room to reduce the risk of escape.

Birds should be kept in quiet areas and not allowed out of the cage in unfamiliar surroundings. Fresh food and water should be provided daily.

If your bird appears ill, be sure to lower the cage perch, food dish, and water bowl and consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

In addition to the pertinent items listed under small animal evacuation kit, include:

  • Necessary dietary supplements
  • Plant mister for cooling birds in hot weather
  • Hot water bottle for warming birds in cold weather
  • Materials to line the bottom of the cage
  • Cage perch
  • Toys

 
Reptiles

Transportation of small reptiles can be accomplished using a pillowcase, cloth sack, or small transport carrier. If possible, promote defecation before transporting the animal (for example allow tortoises, lizards, or snakes to soak in a shallow water bath before bagging or caging).
 
Transfer your pet to a secure cage at the evacuation site as soon as possible and if appropriate.
In addition to the pertinent items listed under small animal evacuation kit, include:

  • Essential dietary supplements
  • Water bowl for soaking
  • Spray bottle for misting
  • Extra bags or newspapers
  • Heating pad
  • Battery-operated heating source or other appropriate heat source
  • Extra batteries
  • Appropriate handling gloves/supplies
  • Since most reptiles do not eat daily, feeding during evacuation circumstances may increase stress. Determine if feeding is in the animal's best interest, especially if the container may become fouled.
  • Housing at the evacuation facility should be consistent with that required by the reptile. The enclosure should, if possible, be placed in a controlled environment, away from areas of heavy traffic, loud noises, and vibrations.
  • Make sure that the container housing the retile is escape proof. Nonetheless, plan for escapes.

Amphibians

Transportation of amphibians can be accomplished by using watertight plastic bags, such as the ones used for pet fish transport, or plastic containers, such as plastic shoeboxes or plastic food containers with snap-on lids.

It is best to place only one species or if possible only one animal per container.
 
Small ventilation holes should be placed in the upper wall or plastic lid. Smooth the inner surface of the holes with a file or sandpaper to prevent injury to the animal.

For terrestrial or semi aquatic amphibians use a tiny amount of water, or moistened paper towels, clean foam rubber, or moss as a suitable substrate.

For aquatic species, fill the plastic bag one third full of water, then inflate the bag with fresh air and close with a knot or rubber band. It is best to use clean water from the animal's enclosure to minimize physiologic stress.

Care must be taken to monitor water and air temperature, humidity, lighting, and nutrition during the time that the animal will be in the evacuation facility.

Housing at the evacuation facility should be consistent with that required by the amphibian.
The enclosure should, if possible, be placed in a controlled environment, away from areas of heavy traffic, loud noises, and vibrations.

Make sure that the container housing the amphibian is escape proof. Nonetheless, plan for escapes.

Take an extra container of water, clean moist paper towels or clean moss as is appropriate in case any of your pet's containers break or leak.

Feeding during evacuation circumstances may increase stress so it may not be in the animal's best interests to supply food, especially if the water may become fouled.
 
Other Small Animals

Transportation of most small mammals (ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, guinea pigs, etc.) is best accomplished using a secure, covered carrier or cage to reduce stress.

In addition to the pertinent items listed under small animal evacuation kit, include:

  • Necessary dietary supplements
  • Extra bedding materials
  • Appropriate exercise equipment 

An Evacuation Order Has Been Issued...Now What Do You Do?

Evacuate your family, including your animals, as early as possible. By leaving early, you will decrease the chance of becoming victims of the disaster.

  • Bring your dogs, cats, and other small animals indoors.
  • Make sure all animals have some form of identification securely fastened to them (or their cage, in the case of smaller, caged pets). The utilization of permanent identification is encouraged.
  • Place all small pets, including cats and small dogs, inside individual transportable carriers. When stressed, animals that normally get along may become aggressive towards each other.
  • Secure leashes on all large dogs.
  • Load your larger animal cages/carriers into your vehicle. These will serve as temporary housing for your animals if needed.
  • Load the animal evacuation kit and supplies into your vehicle.
  • Call your prearranged animal evacuation site to confirm availability of space.
  • Implement your equine/livestock evacuation plan.
  • If evacuation of horses/livestock is impossible, relocate them to the safest place possible based on the type of imminent disaster and your environment, realizing that the situation could be life threatening.
  • Make sure that they have access to hay or an appropriate and safe free-choice food source, clean water, and the safest living area possible including high ground above flood levels.
  • Do not rely on automatic watering systems, because power may be lost.
  • The decision to leave your horses/livestock in the field or in the barn should be based on the risks of injury resulting from the disaster as well as from the horse's/livestock's immediate environment during that disaster.
  • Factors to consider include the stability of the barn, the risk of flooding, and the amount of trees and debris in the fields.
  • If time permits, secure or remove all outdoor objects that may turn into dangerous flying debris.


Information provided by AVMA, http://www.avma.org/disaster/saving_family.asp.