A Disaster Evacuation Plan Means a Secure Route And a Safe Place to Stay

If you had to leave today, would your disaster evacuation plan get you out of harm's way as quickly as possible?

Would it lead you to secure accommodations for both you and your dog?

If you said no, you need to start working on your disaster evacuation plan now.

You don't want to get lost during an evacuation, or start heading towards the coming storm by mistake.

And you don't want to travel for hours only to find that all the hotels and other rental accommodations are filled, or won't accept your dog.

How Will You Be Getting Out of Town?

When the order comes to evacuate, how will you be leaving?

If you're going in your own car or truck, is it fully fueled and well maintained?

You don't want to break down during a disaster, and you don't want to be caught with an empty gas tank when danger is near, especially since the power might be out and gas stations closed.

If you don't have your own vehicle, are you depending on a nearby friend or relative to get you to safety?

Will they take your dog along?

If you're depending on a public agency to take you out, you might not be allowed to take your dog.

Friends and family may be willing to take her, but don't make an assumption that could put your dog at risk. Ask for a ride now, and plan the details with them.

Part of a disaster evacuation plan is having an escape route. Prepare your route well in advance. If you live in an area with a disaster "season," practice your escape route until you know it well enough that you don't need to look at a map.

Have more than one escape route. If a hurricane or flood is coming, your one route may be blocked.

A bridge may be out, or a tree has fallen across the road. Keep a map (or two) in your vehicle at all times; have alternative routes marked with a wide marker.

Where Will You Stay?

Does your disaster evacuation plan include staying with friends or family outside the danger zone?

Have you spoken to them about it?

Ask them what you need to bring for you and your dog, things like a portable bed for you, and a crate for your dog. The situation is likely to be tense enough from the disaster threat without creating more tension due to miscommunication.

If you have no family or friends within driving distance, you may have to stay in a motel or hotel, bed and breakfast or campground.

Not all of them allow dogs.

Check in advance to determine if he can stay with you. There are plenty of places that allow pets, but they'll fill up fast as the threat increases.

There are two web sites that provide listings of pet-friendly accommodations. While their focus is on vacation travel, they're useful resources for quickly researching possible accommodations to add to your disaster evacuation plan.

Pets on the Go!™ (opens new window) has a very extensive list of properties (30,000 plus) around the world that accept pets. You can search the


and Canada, or the rest of the world. They offer online booking for some properties, maps to them, and veterinary practices in the area.

PetsWelcome.com Inc. (opens new window) has a list of 25,000 properties that accept pets. You can search the


, Canada, Great Britain and France. They have an online reservation system as well.

They also offer a feature that allows you to enter your start and end points and receive directions and a list of pet-friendly accommodations along the way. They have a travel club for pet owners, which offers you a discount on accommodations at participating providers.

Once you've found a few places you'd like to stay at if the need arises, contact them and discuss your plans and what they'll require to keep a room available for you.

Once you've found the one or two that best suit your needs, add their contact information to your disaster evacuation plan information kit.

Your Disaster Evacuation Plan Information Kit

Your information kit should include the following.

  • A MAP with all your escape routes marked (if you may escape in one of two or more directions, have a map with marked routes for each direction.

  • Detailed contact information on where you'll be staying in each location, vet clinics in the area, and kennels/animal shelters if your dog can't stay with you.

  • Last minute items, such as medications in the refrigerator, to add to your dog's evacuation kit before you leave.

  • A list of other people and/or pets to pick up, so that you don't forget them in your rush to leave town.

Once you have all this information, place it in a waterproof resealable bag and leave it with your dog's evacuation kit.

Disaster Evacuation Plan - Disaster Preparedness