How to Prepare Your Family Members and Pets for a Hurricane

How to Prepare Your Family Members and Pets for a Hurricane

How to Prepare Your Family Members and Pets for a Hurricane

Preparing your family members and pets for a hurricane starts with confronting the logistics of the problem. We’ll look at what you can do to help everyone feel confident, regardless of how strong the winds blow.

Communication and practice for family members

Hurricane preparation for some family members will run like clockwork. Roles are assigned, dry runs are completed, and everyone knows what's expected of them. For others, it may not be so simple. Young children may panic at the very thought of a storm. People with anxiety may find it difficult to perform under pressure. When it comes to family members, preparing starts with opening the lines of communication.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you get everyone ready:

  • Talk to kids about how hurricanes work and how your family would respond to the storm.
  • Decide on an evacuation plan based on the hazards in your area and update it as your environment changes. Consider making contingency plans in case certain routes are blocked.
  • Practice at least once every six months (more if necessary). The more routine everything is, the easier it is to do when the stakes are high.
  • Get a to-go bag ready for every child. Basic hygiene items will be useful in the event of an evacuation, but it’s equally important to take a toy or stuffed animal for comfort.

Animal shelters and centers for pets

Hurricane prep for pets is all about thinking ahead. You’ll need to know which shelters and emergency centers in the area accept pets and how you’ll get there in the event of a road closure.

As you do your research, consider the following:

  • Ask questions of emergency officials, especially if you have an unusual request. For instance, if you have an iguana with specific feeding times, you’ll want to know if your pet can be accommodated before the hurricane arrives.
  • Crate your pets early, especially if they’re nervous. It can be difficult to wrestle cats and dogs into crates even when there’s nothing happening outside. If you need to be ready to go at a moment’s notice, you won't have to fight with them if they're ready to go.
  • Consider staying with friends or family or at a hotel. If there’s any chance that the shelters will run out of room, staying in another location can eliminate many of the hazards of emergency evacuation.
  • Gather all the supplies you need, including pet food, water and medications. Tape your name and address to the carrier for easier identification. Make sure your pet is microchipped in case of separation.

Use these tips as a starting point to customize your hurricane planning and modify them based on the configuration of your home and town. The more you can think through different scenarios now, the easier it will be to adapt during the real thing.