Kenwood Press Preparedness Articles
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Make A Plan!

Emergencies & Disasters:
What's the Difference & What To Do

Know the difference and how to act appropriately for the size and severity of an incident.


  • An EMERGENCY involves an individual or small number of animals and/or people in one location. An emergency usually occurs without warning.
  • A DISASTER involves large numbers of animals and people in multiple locations over a wide area. In a disaster there may be some advance warning for preparation and evacuation.
  • For any incident involving animals, be prepared by learning how to cooperate and work safely with first responder and emergency services to help them help you save your animals.
  • Download our pocket Emergency and Disaster Guide pdf

Evacuation Planning

  • Know how to get information -- Always have multiple ways to get info! (Cell phone, NOAA Radio, local radio, TV, Apps.)
  • Sign up for local alert notification systems.
  • Follow local Sheriff, police, and County OES on Twitter
  • Use phone Apps: FEMA, Red Cross, Government Fire Agencies, weather.
  • Know best potential shelter locations for horses and livestock, and for cats, dogs, birds, exotics, and other companion animals. In small local disasters you may need to make your own arrangements for transportation and temporary boarding in a safe place.

    In a larger incident, emergency managers may open special emergency animal shelters and possibly activate Animal Disaster Response Teams to assist with evacuations and care for animals sheltered-in-place. Shelter restrictions will vary.

    Official Emergency Shelter locations for people and animals will be communicated by local emergency services. Check ahead for availability. At many shelters you may be responsible for care and feeding of your animals. Make sure everything you will need is packed and ready.
  • Identify best travel routes for any scenario -- flood, fire, earthquake, landslide. Always have an alternate route as a backup.
  • Prepare property access for first responders and animal response teams. Make sure responders can find your animals.
  • Make sure all vehicles and trailers are loaded with supplies, equipment, first aid kits, and fuel tanks are full. Stage for quick animal loading and fast getaway. Check hitch, brake and tail lights.
  • Ensure halters, leashes, ropes, crates, cages, etc. are ready for each animal.
  • Have a Disaster Plan binder ready, including: proof of ownership, multiple emergency contacts, vet records, medical directives, photos, brand registration, microchip info, insurance contacts and proof of insurance, out of area emergency contacts.
  • Leave duplicate documentation and info about all animals left behind for first responders and evac team.
  • Take lots of water with you!