In the event of a wildfire, earthquake, house fire, or other emergency, would you know what to do to protect your pet? Teton County Emergency Management and PAWS of Jackson Hole want you to know how to keep pets safe in disasters and everyday emergencies.
If you take some simple preparedness actions now, you will encounter less difficulty, stress, and worry when you need to make quick decisions during an emergency. Follow the tips below to help keep your furry family members safe:
- Create or revise your household’s emergency plan to include considerations for pets. Include specific plans for how you will evacuate with your animals. If officials ask you to evacuate, that means your pets should evacuate too.
- Arrange for someone you trust to take your pets in case you’re not home during an emergency.
- Identify a safe place where you can take your pets if you get advance warning before a disaster strikes. Create a list of pet-friendly hotels, boarding facilities, and out-of-town friends/relatives with whom your pet could stay.
- Know where to find disaster information and instructions from local officials, including the location of a disaster animal shelter:
- Sign up now for free emergency text message alerts from Teton County authorities. Text “TETON_WY” to 888777. If you want alerts in Spanish, reply “ESP” to the confirmation.
- Bookmark www.tcincident.org for follow-up information after an emergency or disaster.
- Always bring pets indoors at the first sign of severe weather and when you receive an emergency alert. Know where in the home your pet might hide when stressed or scared.
- Make sure your pet is identifiable with a microchip and up-to-date collars and tags.
- Store a recent photo of your pet on your phone or in your email, preferably one of you with your pet as proof of ownership.
- Prepare a disaster kit for your pet that includes 2-weeks’ worth of supplies. Find pet disaster kit checklists at www.ready.gov/pets, www.cdc.gov/healthypets, and www.humanesociety.org.
- For tips on how to prepare with large animals and livestock, visit:
- www.avma.org, search “Large animals and livestock in disasters”
- www.aphis.usda.gov, search “Protecting Livestock During a Disaster”
“We are fortunate in Teton County that during disasters we can look to PAWS of Jackson Hole and their Disaster Animal Response Team. Not every community has an organization that can quickly stand up a safe and organized disaster animal shelter when it’s needed”, says Anna Day, Teton County Emergency Management Program Specialist. “We hope that, with a safe place for pets to go, people will not have to make difficult and dangerous decisions to leave animals behind or to ignore evacuation orders. Effective disaster animal sheltering makes human and animal lives easier in times of crisis.”
Locally, the Little Horsethief Fire of 2012 made it clear that our community needed an evacuation and sheltering plan for pets. In 2014, PAWS of Jackson Hole invested in a trailer, supplies, and training for a team of volunteers to serve as the Disaster Animal Response Team (DART) for Teton County, WY. “Since the creation of DART, PAWS has hosted biannual trainings of new and seasoned volunteers, and staff has been involved in disaster deployments with American Humane to refine skills and bring those experiences back. Our team is ready to serve the local community when needed,” explains Jess Far, Program Director for PAWS.
Revy the dog assists with a DART training on decontamination at the Jackson-Teton County Animal Shelter
Learn more about PAWS of Jackson Hole and the Disaster Animal Response Team at www.pawsofjh.org.
Find additional preparedness information in the 2022 Teton County Emergency Preparedness Calendar, showcasing a different theme each month. The calendar is available online, or in print by calling Teton County Emergency Management at 307-733-9572. Download a PDF copy and access monthly content at www.tetoncountywy.gov/prepcalendar.