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Emergency preparedness for your furry family

While it’s not something we want to think about, emergency preparedness is important to keep in mind for residents in the Okanagan.

From flooding to forest fires, it’s imperative for families to have a plan in the event of a crisis or evacuation, not only for themselves but for their furry family as well.

Here are some simple steps you can follow to prepare your pets in the event of an emergency:

1. Get an Emergency Sticker for your front door

These stickers let emergency responders know there are animals in the house to be rescued. They indicate how many pets of each species are inside, and may give the name and address of your local veterinarian or rescue organization.

If you are evacuated and bring your pets with you, write “EVACUATED” on the sticker to let responders know they are safe.

Ask your veterinarian if they provide a free emergency sticker, or contact Fairfield Animal Hospital or the Kelowna SPCA.

<who>Photo Credit: Fairfield Animal Hospital</who>

2. Choose designated caregivers and arrange for safe shelter

Discuss with your friends, family and neighbours who could care for your pets in the event of an emergency. This should be someone who lives relatively close to you who has the capacity to take your pets into their home on a temporary basis.

If possible, give this person a spare key to your home and have a list prepared of any special information they might need in regards to your pet’s care.

In the event that a designated caregiver cannot be located, research your local area for pet-friendly hotels and boarding facilities.

* If pet owners in the Okanagan are evacuated from their homes due to fires, emergency boarding facilities are available at Fairfield Animal Hospital for cats and dogs until alternate arrangements can be made. Please call (250)860-6550 if you require assistance; they are open 24 hours a day.

<who>Photo Credit: Fairfield Animal Hospital</who>

3. Prepare emergency supplies

Emergencies may require only a brief absence from your home, but could also require long-term evacuation. If you must evacuate, plan for a worst case scenario.

To minimize evacuation time and stress, follow these steps:

Bring all pets indoors at the first sign of a storm or disaster. Pets can become frightened and disoriented and run away from home in a crisis.

<who>Photo Credit: Fairfield Animal Hospital</who>

Ensure all pets have proper identification:

  • Collars with tags that display their name and your current contact information
  • Tattoo or microchip
  • Have a travelling carrier easily accessible in your home, which also displays your pet’s name and contact information

Prepare an emergency kit, and ensure that everyone in the household knows where it is. Examples of items to carry for your pets include:

  • Seven days worth of food
  • Seven days worth of water for EACH member of the family
  • Bowls for food and water, collapsible if possible
  • Bedding, toys and treats
  • Poop bags/training pads/cat litter and tray
  • Disposable garbage bags
  • Extra collars/leashes
  • Labelled pet carrier
  • Current colour photo of your pet
  • Copy of current vaccinations
  • Your pet’s medication
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Document outlining any special medical care your pet requires

Click here to download a printable emergency checklist.

<who>Photo Credit: Fairfield Animal Hospital</who>

Being prepared for emergencies will ensure you and your furry family are ready and capable in the event of a crisis.

Pets First with Fairfield Animal Hospital offers monthly tips and information for pet owners in the Okanagan so that we can all stay safe and have fun with our furry friends in this beautiful valley! Fairfield Animal Hospital offers high-quality, compassionate care for your feline and canine companions.

For more information, please visit our website and Facebook page.

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