June 15, 2017
When Disaster Strikes. Planning ahead is the key to keeping yourself and your pets safe if disaster strikes.
If you evacuate, take your pet
If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed.
Don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind. The smell of smoke or the sound of high winds or thunder may make your pet more fearful and difficult to load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful.
- Microchip your pets - Microchip identification is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pet are reunited if you are separated. Be sure to keep the microchip registration up-to-date, and include at least one emergency number of a friend or relative who resides out of your immediate area.
- Keep a collar and tag on all cats and dogs - Keep several current phone numbers on your animal’s identification tag. Identification on indoor-only cats is especially important. If your home is damaged during a disaster, they could easily escape.
- Plan a pet-friendly place to stay -
Search in advance for out-of-area pet-friendly hotels or boarding facilities, or make a housing exchange agreement with an out-of-area friend or relative.
Search for pet-friendly accommodations at:
Clay County has three pet-friendly emergency shelters including:
- Orange Park High School (2300 Kingsley Avenue, Orange Park)
- Clay High School (2025 State Road 16 West, Green Cove Springs)
- Keystone Heights High School (900 S.W. Orchid Avenue, Keystone Heights)
- Landmark Middle School (101 N. Kernan Boulevard, Jacksonville)
- Mandarin Middle School (5100 Hood Road, Jacksonville)
- Chimney Lakes Elementary (9353 Staples Mill Drive, Jacksonville)
- South Woods Elementary School (4750 SR-206 West, Elkton)
- Timberlin Creek Elementary School (555 Pine Tree Lane, St. Augustine)
- Yulee Elementary School (86063 Felmore Road, Yulee)
- Callahan Middle School (450121 Old Dixie Highway, Callahan)
- Hilliard Middle / Senior High School (1 Flashes Avenue, Hilliard)
For more information about pet-friendly shelters in your area and types of pets permitted visit:
More Important Steps
- Use the buddy system - Exchange pet information, evacuation plans and house keys with a few trusted neighbors or nearby friends. If you’re caught outside evacuation lines when an evacuation order is issued, your neighbors or friends can evacuate your pets for you.
- Prepare an emergency kit for each animal - Stock up on the items you may need during a disaster now so you do not get caught unprepared. Below are basic items you should include in your pets' disaster kits. Store your disaster kit supplies in an easy-to-grab container.
- One-week supply of food. Store it in a water-tight container and rotate it every three months to keep it fresh. If you use canned food, include a spare can opener.
- One-week supply of fresh water. If officials declare your household water unfit to drink, it’s also unsafe for your pets. Follow American Red Cross guidelines for storing emergency water for your family and your pets.
- Medication. If your animal takes medication, a replacement supply may not be easily available following a disaster.
- Copies of vaccination records
- Photographs of you with your pets to prove ownership
- Photographs of your pets in case you need to make "lost pet" fliers
- Pet first aid kit
- Temporary ID tags. If you've evacuated, use this to record your temporary contact information and/or the phone number of an unaffected friend or relative.
- Carrier or leash for each animal.
Disaster plans are essential for all animals in your care including outdoor and feral cats and livestock.