Disaster Preparedness During COVID-19

By August 5, 2020July 5th, 2021No Comments

Here is a shareable checklist (below) to help your clients prepare for natural disasters during the pandemic. LifeLearn has disaster relief packages that can be distributed to your clients in the event of a natural disaster. Sign up for our mailing list to ensure you receive the latest content from us.
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The height of hurricane season is still a few weeks away. Yet 2020 has already been a record-breaking year. Hurricane Hanna, which brought flooding rains to South Texas, was the earliest storm in recorded history to begin with the letter “H.” And this year is the first hurricane season on record in which eight tropical storms have formed before August 1st. With an above-normal hurricane season predicted for 2020 by the National Weather Service, this year’s hurricane season may complicate the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
FEMA has introduced new guidelines when preparing for hurricane season amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the CDC has also published tips to prepare for hurricanes and other natural disasters during the pandemic, and has a page dedicated to pet safety in emergencies.
If you don’t already have an emergency kit and evacuation plan for you and your pets, now’s the time to make one, before a hurricane makes landfall.
As you prepare an emergency kit and your evacuation plan, it’s important to consider the constraints created by COVID-19 and plan accordingly. Veterinary clinics may not be operating at full capacity due to the pandemic, meaning that expecting to make last-minute arrangements to pick up medication or prescription diets is just not realistic. It may be difficult to acquire medication or pet food for days or even weeks after a storm. So, be sure that you have supplies to last at least two weeks. Find out if your public shelter is open—the location may be different this year due to COVID-19. And find out if your shelter will accept pets.
Download the FEMA app for a list of shelters open during a disaster in your local area.
If you already have an emergency kit for your pet, check it to be sure that the food and water is fresh, update your pet’s health information, and check medication supplies.
Each pet needs his or her own personalized kit. The following are guidelines for preparing emergency kits for cats, dogs, reptiles, birds, rabbits, and small mammals.

Items to pack for ALL pets:

  • Proof of ownership, identification (if your pet is microchipped, keep a copy of the microchip number in your kit), and a recent photo of your pet.
  • Copies of veterinary records, including your pet’s rabies certificate and vaccination history, and heartworm results for dogs.
  • Emergency contact list and contact information for your veterinary hospital.
  • Non-spill food and/or water bowls (collapsible dishes are a great option for cats and dogs).
  • 2-week supply of food and treats. Rotate food and treats to ensure that they are always fresh. Pack food in Ziplock-style bags or water-tight containers or pack canned food. Include feeding instructions.
  • 2-week supply of water. Dogs need about 8-17 ounces of water per ten pounds body weight per day, and cats need slightly less. In other words, a 65-pound dog will drink between ¼ – ½ gallon of water daily. Keep in mind that in extreme heat and humidity, these needs may rise.
  • 2-week supply of medication and supplements. Include dosing instructions.
  • Pet first aid kit.
  • List of pet friendly hotels and pet boarding facilities.
  • Cleaning supplies, including garbage bags, paper towels, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizer.


Additional supplies for cats:

  • Crate/carrier
  • A favorite blanket for bedding
  • Towels
  • Collar/harness and leash if your cat uses a leash
  • Litter box, litter, garbage bags, and scooper
  • Can opener and spoon
  • Toys
  • Brush or comb
  • Flea, tick, and heartworm preventives


Additional supplies for dogs:

  • Crate/carrier
  • A favorite blanket for bedding
  • Towels
  • Leash and collar/harness
  • Can opener and spoon
  • Toys
  • Brush or comb
  • Flea, tick, and heartworm preventives


Additional supplies for reptiles:

  • Pillowcase or secure container for transport
  • Escape-proof housing
  • Bedding material (newspapers or other paper)
  • Battery-operated heating source and extra batteries
  • Water bowl for soaking
  • Water bottle for misting


Additional supplies for amphibians:

  • Small transport container with ventilation holes
  • Escape-proof housing


Additional supplies for birds:

  • Cage and material to line the cage
  • Blankets
  • Grit
  • Hot water bottle
  • Toys and extra cage perches


Additional supplies for rabbits and small mammals:

  • Cage
  • Bedding materials
  • Water bottle

The ability to care for your pet during an emergency depends on how well you have prepared for it. If you have already prepared an emergency kit, take some time this week to refresh and restock. And if you haven’t prepared one, now’s the time to do it! Be sure to pack masks, soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces.
Remember! Take your pets with you if you must evacuate! What’s good for you is good for your pets. Once you leave your home, you may not be able to return to get your pets right away. Leaving your pets behind can put pets, pet owners, and first responders in danger.
Make a plan. Make a kit.