What is Your Disaster Plan for Your Pets?

By: PaKou Lee, Red Cross PR/Social Media Volunteer

I live with two very sassy, but loving Chihuahuas, Junie and Julie, both belonging to my niece, Nevaeh. I always thought that when a disaster strikes whether it is a tornado or a fire, everyone would gather, grab the dogs and find a safe place to be. As I researched for Preparedness Month, I realized there is much more to planning a pet disaster safety than just grabbing and keeping them safe.

It is not that I think Junie and Julie are less important; they are part of the family too. Many people including myself are just not sure where to start for pet emergencies. I have gathered some important safety tips so we can all be prepared- learn how to prepare for a pet emergency, know what should be included in the portable kit, and how to help your pets recover after a traumatic event.


  • Know which hotels and motels along your evacuation route will accept you and your pets in an emergency. Ask if no pet policies could be waived in an emergency.
  • Most American Red Cross shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety concerns and other considerations. Service animals that assist people with disabilities are allowed in Red Cross shelters.
  • Include your pets in evacuation drills so that they become used to entering and traveling in their carriers calmly.
  • Make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are current and that all dogs and cats are wearing collars with securely fastened, up-to-date identification. Many pet shelters require proof of current vaccinations to reduce the spread of disease.

Your Kit Should Include:

  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that they can’t escape.
  • Food, drinking water, bowls, litter pans, pet beds and toys.
  • Medications, copies of medical records, your veterinarian’s name and number stored in a waterproof container.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, and behavior problems.

Pet Recovery:

  • Watch your animals closely and keep them under your direct control as fences and gates may have been damaged.
  • Pets may become disoriented, particularly if the disaster has affected scent markers that normally allow them to find their home.
  • Be aware of hazards at nose and paw or hoof level, particularly debris, spilled chemicals, fertilizers and other substances that might not seem to be dangerous to humans.
  • Consult your veterinarian if any behavior problems persist.

    Our Chihuahuas, Julie (top) and Junie (bottom). Aren't they cute?

    Our Chihuahuas, Julie (top) and Junie (bottom).
    Aren’t they cute?

Red Cross also offers Pet First Aid class. You will learn how to administer medication to managing cardiac emergencies and more! If you have animals such as livestock, reptiles, birds, and other small animals, visit Humane Society of the United States or Ready.gov for more information on how to keep your animals safe.

A New Year and a New Resolution for Your Business

Guest Blog Post, Kim Apfelbeck, Sales Representative

After ringing in the New Year, many people resolve to live healthier lifestyles and lose a few extra pounds.  As a business, you too can choose to better the health and safety of your employees and overall business.  By having a safety plan in place, you can lose some of the weight off your shoulders by having informed and ready-to-act employees.  Here are a few ways the Red Cross can help you to get started on your 2012 resolution to a healthy and safe work environment.

1.  Get trained by joining the Next Generation of Red Cross Training

More Value

□       Two-year certification with free digital refreshers for participants

□       A choice of free digital or affordable print course materials for participants (redcross.org/previewkits)

Highest Quality

□       Concise learner-centered course design emphasizes hands-on skills and learning application

□       Updated user-friendly course materials including exciting new video

Greater Convenience

□       Standardized delivery, pricing and single point-of-contact support for businesses spanning multiple geographic locations

□       Online training management system provides student certificates quickly and efficiently

 More Training Options

□       Flexible course options to meet your organization’s needs

□       Web-based learning options for First Aid/CPR/AED and Bloodborne Pathogens Training

□       Wide selection of courses and combinations to meet your needs

 To set up group training at your facility or to learn more, please contact Kim Apfelbeck at apfelbeckk@usa.redcross.org or 920-227-4294.

 2.  Get prepared by having easily-accessible emergency supplies

 First Aid Kits

4 x 4 First Aid Kit – $5.00




101-Piece First Aid Kit – $10.00





Large All Purpose First Aid Kit – $20.00





Breathing Barriers

Mini-Key CPR Key Chain – $2.00



CPR Key Chain w/gloves – $3.00



CPR Res-Cue Mask (Soft or Hard Case) – $10.00





Products may be purchased at your local chapter or by visiting www.redcrossstore.org

3.  Get an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for your facility

The chance of survival drops by 10% for every minute that passes after sudden cardiac arrest.  With CPR training and access to an AED, your employee or fellow coworker has a much greater chance of survival. 

To help meet its mission of saving lives, the Red Cross has formed relationships with three AED manufacturers (Cardiac Science, Philips Health Care Group and ZOLL Medical Corporation) to facilitate the purchase of AED devices for customers.

The Red Cross can work with you to find the device that best fits your facility.  By purchasing through the Red Cross, a portion of the purchase price goes back to your local chapter to support services and activities in your community.

For further information please contact Kim Apfelbeck at apfelbeckk@usa.redcross.org or 920-227-4294.