When preparing for an emergency, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department reminds residents: “Don’t forget your pets.”

Planning is the best way to ensure the safety and well-being of all of your loved ones and property, the department says, and offers the following tips with regards to pets:

• Keep a collar/harness and tag or other ID on your animals. Micro-chipping is recommended as collars can come off.
• Put together an emergency kit for your animal that includes a two-week supply of water, food and medications. Materials needed to properly dispose of waste should also be included.
• Have a picture of you/your family with your pet kept in your emergency kit. This will help identify you as the owner if you should be separated from your pet in a disaster. Include detailed information about species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
• Have a leash, carrier, cage, or kennel for each animal.
• Keep vaccination records and pet information sheet easily accessible and in waterproof containers.
• Identify several locations where you can take your animals should you have to evacuate your neighborhood.

Other recommendations:

• Keep a removable sign in an easily visible window alerting authorities of the types and number of pets inside your home. Write the words: “Evacuated with Pets” across the sign, should you or someone else flee with them.

• Develop a buddy system with a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member to ensure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be sure the pet and pet care partner are comfortable with each other as a pet’s temperament may change in time of an emergency.

Talk with your pet care partners about your evacuation plans and show them where you keep your pet’s emergency supply kit.

• Designate specific locations, one in your immediate neighborhood and another further away, where you will meet in an emergency.

• Keep a list of important contact information enclosed in both your pet’s emergency supply kit and yours. This list should have the number and address of your pet’s veterinarian, local humane societies, pet shelters, and emergency animal clinics. Have a list of pet-friendly hotels and motels.

For more information about disaster planning, review the Ready! Set! Go! program at www.sbcfire.com.