How To Create a Disaster Plan for Service and Working Dogs

While everyone should have a well thought out disaster plan, those with disabilities often have special concerns, such as having extra supplies, medications or other provisions.

While amazing, Service Dogs are still domesticated animals and they will not survive on their own. Even if they do, that’s no assurance you’ll be able to find them once it’s over. Learn how to create a disaster plan for Service Dogs and working K9s.

The likelihood that you and your animals will survive a fire, flash flood, hurricane, tornado, or even a terrorist attack partly depends on how prepared you are, and being prepared starts with learning how to create a disaster plan that includes your Service Dogs, Working K9s and/or pets.

Begin by putting together an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals.

The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 requires the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure that state and local emergency preparedness operational plans address the needs of individuals with household pets and Service Animals prior to, during, and following a major disaster or emergency. However, you still need to be responsible for the safety of yourself and your animals — and that means realizing that during an emergency things can move sideways very easily. If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside.  Service Dogs should be allowed, but you should be prepared for conflicts. You may meet people who are uneducated about the law or who believe the extreme circumstances may override the law. Remember, even the best trained Service Dog may experience stress in the crowded, noisy, emotional environment of a shelter. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your animals. Consider friends, family members or others who live outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your animals in an emergency.

• Plan where you will stay if relocated

• Assemble an emergency supply survival kit

• Develop a Service Dog or pet care buddy system

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