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Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 989-7060
Tel: (877) 747-2243
Fax (213) 481-2375
vet@ph.lacounty.gov
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The 2020 Healthy Pets, Healthy Families Initiative

Disaster preparedness

 

 Background:

 

Are you prepared in case of a disaster? Do you have an emergency plan if you need to evacuate? Does this plan include your pets? As you know, Los Angeles County (LAC) can be prone to some disasters like earthquakes or wildfires. If a disaster occurs, common amenities such as water, gas or electricity may not be working for long periods of time and people may be asked to evacuate. Pets are a member of the family and, just like people, they need to have extra food, water or medications kept aside in case a disaster occurs. In addition, not all rescue shelters allow animals during emergencies so it is very important to know where to bring pets before a disaster occurs.  

 

Facts about Disaster Preparedness in LAC:

 

  • Earthquakes and wildfires occur commonly in LAC

  • Earthquakes can damage building structures, causing them to be without water, electricity or gas

  • Wildfires can spread quickly, giving people very little time for evacuation

  • LAC is home to an estimated 10 million people and 2.5 million pets1

  • More than half of people surveyed in LAC don't know where to bring their pet in case they need to evacuate2

  • During a disaster, animal response groups will be very busy and may not have time to get to you right away, which is why you should prepare on your own

 

What can people do to prepare themselves and their pets for disasters:

 

  • Make sure you know where you can bring your pet in case of an evacuation, some possibilities include:

    • An out-of-town relative

    • A veterinary clinic or animal shelter

    • A pet-friendly hotel - click here for a list of pet-friendly hotels in your city

 

  • Prepare your emergency kit beforehand, this kit should last for about 72hrs and some of the items you may need during a disaster include:

    • Extra food & water

    • Cash & other important documents

    • Clothes for everyone

    • A flashlight & radio, with extra batteries

    • A first aid kit

    • Extra medicine

    • Bathroom products - toilet paper, soap, trash bags, paper towels,...

    • Other useful objects include tools, a whistle or gloves

 

  • Likewise, including your pet's needs in your emergency kit means including the following:

    • Extra pet food & water

    • Medical records - such as proof of vaccinations

    • Extra medicine - such as insulin if the pet has diabetes

    • Proper pet identification - usually, both a microchip and an collar with an ID & phone numbers are recommended; consider also carrying a picture of you with your pet

    • Crate/carrier - make sure the carrier fits your pet(s), is sturdy, comfortable and easily moveable

    • Other items - such as a litter box, plastic bags, muzzle, leash

    • Check below for more information on how include your pets' needs in your emergency kit

What Veterinary Public Health (VPH) and our partners do to improve disaster preparedness in LAC:

VPH works very closely with our 2020 Healthy Pets Healthy Families (HPHF) partners to make sure everyone in LAC is aware of what they can do to be ready for disasters and emergencies. This is done through by participating in numerous health fairs around our county, emergency exercises with various stakeholders and providing access to extra pet housing space if needed.

More useful information about disaster preparedness:

Pets and Disasters (American Veterinary Medical Association [AVMA])

YouTube video - Saving the Whole Family: Disaster Prep and Your Pets (AVMA)

Pet Care: Disaster Preparedness (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty in Animals [ASPCA])

Make Disaster Plans for your Pets (The Humane Society of the United States)

Flyer - Preparing Your Pets For Emergencies Makes Sense. Get Ready Now (Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA])

Last updated: 10/28/2013

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