Fire Evacuation Information for your Pets

For many people, time and preparation is not an option when you are asked to evacuate, but for those who are not in the line of fire today, it is a good idea to be prepared in the event you are asked to evacuate on a moment’s notice.  Here are some of the things you can do to prepare your pets for evacuation:

1.  Find and/or assemble crates.  This is most important when you have cats.  Cats will stress out and may try to flee the scene.  If you are holding them in your arms or have to take them in the car, they may get themselves stuck under the seats.  If you decide to go to an evacuation center such as a high school or community center and they allow pets, your pet (both dog or cat) will be most comfortable in something familiar with all the noise, smell, and commotion going on around them.

2. Take Photographs of your pets- The more photos you have the better.  In the event your pet goes to a different evacuation center than you the photos may come in handy.  We often here of people who take refuge at their friend’s or family’s homes and take their pets with them.  Sadly, many times the pets get loose in the panic or with the unfamiliarity of the home and the photos you have taken will allow for you to make Lost & Found signage

3. Prepare your pet’s medication & medical history: If your pet is on prescription medication, you may not be able to get a refill or be able to contact your vet.  Put everything together in a bag so that you can grab and go.  Having your vet’s contact information written and available is also helpful.  It is also helpful to have your pet’s vaccine records.  Many pet friendly human hotels will require this information as will Pet Hotels.  In emergency exceptions may be made, but if you have time to prepare, this can be very helpful.

4.  Put Flat Nylon Collars w/ Tags– many pet owners keep collars off at home because they jingle.  Please, please, please put your collars on your dog.  If you don’t have a tag with your current information, please go get one!  Again, if you and your pet get separated at different evacuation sites or your pet gets lost or loose, your collar and tag will be the first line of defense to get you reunited with your pet.

5. Leashes-  Your pet may be the most well behaved dog in the world, but in times of stress and panic a leash is incredibly important.  Have your leashes near the door so they are ready to go at a moment’s notice.  If you have spares, you should put them in your car.

6. Food-  Particularly if your pet requires a specialty diet, but even it not- you should be prepared with your pets food.  Having a couple of go-bags or containers with dog food should tide you over if you have to remain in your vehicle, stay at a hotel, stay at a evacuation site, or even if you take your pet to a pet hotel, resources might be stretched, so please try and prepare for your pets.

7. Water- Sometimes you may be in your vehicle or at an evacuation center.  Particularly with the hot weather, pack a little water just to tide you over til you pet(s) are taken to a safe and secure location.

8. Non-Traditional Pets- Pets such as birds, rodents, reptiles will be accepted at many pet boarding companies such as ours.  We do not get these pets regularly so we do not have supplies on hand.  It is even more important that you have a carrying cage or a cage you can bring with them along with their food and any specialty items that they may require.  This is for the safety and comfort of your pet.

9. Phone Numbers: Not only should you prepare a list of your family cell phone numbers to leave with your pet’s caretakers, you should prepare a list of alternate contacts.  Additionally, you should program the following phone numbers into your phone as they may be a very helpful resource:

Department of Animal Control Emergency Line:  (619)299-0871

Humane Society Rescue Line: (619)236-2341

Emergency Animal Response (EAR):

10. Evacuation Plan:  Talk about it and come up with your evacuation plan.  Sometimes you aren’t able to get to your pets, you may be at work or away from home when evacuation orders are given or due to road closures.  Can you phone a neighbor?  Do you have alternate access to your home?  Come up with various ways to ensure your pet’s safety!

11.  Additional Items/Optional Items:    If you have the space and time, some of the optional items you may want to pack with you are:

  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Blankets
  • food/water bowls
  • litter boxes
  • Poop bags

These are by no means mandatory or necessary, particularly if you are leaving your pets at a pet care facility or at a humane society evacuation center, but if you are keeping your pets with you at an evacuation center or taking them to friends or family who don’t normally have pets, these items may come in handy.

Lastly, stay calm!  Being prepared will be important to ensure a smoother evacuation for you and your pets!


Are you looking to add a new member to the family? Check these links out first to see if you are ready, what breed might be right for you and more!
American Humane Society – Are you ready?
Humane Society – Crate Training – Backyard Dogs

German Shepherds: Coastal German Shepherd Rescue –

Huskies: Alley’s Rescued Angels –

Labradors and Friends:

Mixed Breed: Stella’s Hope –
OC animal shelter
Seal Beach Animal Shelter

Cats: MeoowZResQ

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