June 1, 2016

The month of June is Pet Preparedness Month: four weeks to focus on your furry friends that stay by your side year round. The campaign is being promoted by Ready.gov and was created to encourage pet owners to include their animals when they prepare for disasters and emergencies.

We preach personal preparedness at the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management and we know how a little prep goes a long way. This responsibility extends even further when accounting for your pets.

A big concern for Philadelphia residents when planning for emergencies are their pets,  according to feedback given to our office by those taking a minute to take our Hazard Mitigation Plan survey. Statements such as “I don’t want to leave my pet”, and questions like “Can I bring my pet to a shelter?’ or “How do I prepare my pet for an emergency?”.

Here is the answer for those concerned about leaving their pets behind, or those who say they won’t leave them behind: Animals are welcome at all City of Philadelphia evacuation shelters, reception centers, and on SEPTA evacuation transport vehicles.

The city, in partnership with Red Paw, Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania SPCA, and the Philadelphia County Animal Response Team, provide rescue, care, shelter, and essential needs for companion animals during disasters in accordance with the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS Act – Amendment 403 of the Robert T. Stafford Emergency Relief and Disaster Assistance Act).

In regards to people incorporating pets into their preparedness plans, be ready for an emergency with the following tips:

  • Develop a Pet Emergency Plan. Identify friends and family that are willing to shelter you and/or your animal.
  • Make a Go Bag with pet supplies and veterinarian information.
  • Plan for evacuation and shelter. If you must go to an evacuation shelter you should bring:
    • Dogs
      • Cages or crate
      • Bowls for food and water
      • Food
      • Beds or padding for crates
      • Leash
      • Toys and chews
    • Cats
      • Cage or crate
      • Bowls for food and water
      • Food
      • Beds or padding for crates
      • Carrier
      • Toys
      • Litterbox
    • Birds
      • Carrier or cages
      • Blanket, heavy towel, cage liner
      • Catch net
      • Food
      • Water container
    • Reptiles
      • Permanent and secure housing
      • Bowl for soaking
      • Heating pad
      • Spray bottle
      • Food
    • Small Animals
      • Secure carrier or cages
      • Bedding materials
      • Food bowl
      • Food
      • Water bottle
      • Hide box or tube
    • Care for animals at co-located shelters and reception centers is the responsibility of the owners.
    • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification.

For more information about pets and emergency preparedness, visit the ASPCA website.

A simple yet essential way to be prepared is to stay informed. Get emergency alerts from OEM’s ReadyPhiladelphia program sent to your phone or email to keep you informed prior to and during an emergency. Also, look for PhilaOEM on Twitter and Facebook.