Wildfires and Pet Emergencies
With the number one story on the news and our state of California being about the terrible fires that burned, I felt compelled to write a blog about pet care in such an emergency. With our dry weather, being as prepared as possible for fire danger is something that is an important topic and not often does it include our pets.
Here are some questions and information that I hope help:
You may have a family exit plan in place but does it include the pets?
What if a fire were to happen in our area when you are at work and no one is home?
When I was growing up, we had a neighborhood phone tree for emergencies and neighbors were told were extra keys were hidden in case of such an emergency. If you choose to have the agreement with your neighbor to possibly rescue your pet while you are away, does your neighbor know where you keep your pet carrier, pet meds, etc.? Keep in mind they will have minutes to grab these items and your pets.
Does your pet know your neighbor well enough to not fight being taken by the neighbor?
Does the neighbor have all cell numbers of your family in order to stay in touch letting you know where your pet is?
Would this information be able to be stored at your local police or fire station?
This goes the same with your pet sitters when you are out of town with these details, but what about a small house fire? Does your pet sitter know where the fire extinguisher is and is it up to date and the proper steps to evacuate all pets safely? Do they know how to use a fire extinguisher?
What if you have a large dog who is injured and you need to get it in the car for an emergency? Many vets and pet bloggers have suggested blankets to lay down and place the large dog on in order to drag it to the car. A stretcher with wooden handles works well also and is not too difficult for those who have to drag the dog by themselves. There are a few with wheels specifically made for pets sold on Amazon.
As far as face masks for your pets I have seen online are from a company called "dogpollutionmask.com", but they are sold out of many right now as you can imagine. Some pet owners have placed the human face masks on their pets for protection against smoke - a good idea if the pet will wear it and you may choose to have one around and place it on your pet often for it to get used to in case of such an emergency.
Another safety precaution are red stickers in your home windows for firemen or neighbors to realize that you have pets inside a home that may be affected by fire or in danger of fire? You can find them easily online and they are inexpensive.
Keeping pets hydrated with handy bottles of water nearby and even now with the smoky skies also helps them.
Hope these questions and information helps and please know that with the smoke, it is very important to keep all pets inside in order to prevent respiratory and other health issues.