"Don't leave them behind."
The Oregon Humane Society is asking you, "Are you ready to evacuate with your pets," and if the answer is, "not quite", they have some serious recommendations that you follow in order to keep you and the furry members of your family safe.
NewsChannel 21 spoke Monday evening with Humane Society of Central Oregon Community Outreach Manager Lynne Ouchida to learn how to plan in advance and be prepared when the moment comes.
"A lesson learned from the wildfires and evacuees from last fall that we received was the reason they left without their animals was that during the chaos of loading up their cars, the animals either got out of the house or they hid in the house," Ouchida said.
Ouchida says a lack of planning can lead to lost pets.
"So my best advice is when you hear those evacuation orders, contain your pet in an interior room so you can load up your car, not worry about your pets when you're ready to go, and you know where to find them and you can load them up quickly," Ouchida said.
Proper preparation can lessen a lot of heartbreak down the road, it is important to remember that there aren't just your pets, they are also your family members.
HSCO offers these tips:
Plan in advance where you will go. Ask family and friends outside the area if you can stay with them. Some evacuation shelters do not accept pets. Have a list of pet friendly motels.
Identification tags and microchip implants should have a mobile phone number listed. Network with neighbors so they can remove your pet(s) quickly if you are not home.
Assemble a pet evacuation kit in a tote bag or pet crate. Make sure everyone knows where the kit is. Your pet evacuation kit should include:
- Three-day food and water supply (rotate and keep fresh)
- Litter box or disposable gift boxes left flat
- Food dishes
- Crate or Collapsible Crate and/or Cable tie-out
- Extra leash (chew proof)
- Blanket or sheet for bed and/or to assist with injured or fearful pet
- Toys for distraction and comfort
- Copy of vet records and veterinarian phone number
- Photographs of pet(s) and of you and your pet to document ownership.
- First aid kit
Secure your pet inside during the first sign of a disaster or storm. Interior rooms keep pets secure as doors are open to load-up vehicles. Animals can hide in a difficult spot to get them out, get stressed, confused & disoriented.
But if you don't have time to assemble a kit, Ouchida says to not waste any time.
"First and foremost, evacuate with your pet," Ouchida said. "Do not leave them behind."
During this unprecedented fire season, remember to take precautions and always think about your pets.
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