Active Hurricane Season: Include a Plan for Your Pet

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CHICAGO – We are in the last seven weeks of the 2013 hurricane season, meaning there’s still plenty of time left for a storm to cause massive destruction along the coastal regions. If you have to evacuate it’s important to have a plan in place. The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is urging property owners along the coast to review your insurance policy, protect your home from potential storm damage, create a home inventory, and gather an emergency kit for your family and your beloved pet.

Last year we saw an estimated 30 million animals - including 14.5 million dogs, 15.3 million cats, and 1.5 million horses - caught in the path of Hurricane Sandy. “As you make emergency evacuation plans for your family, it’s important for pet owners to also have a plan in place for their animals. This is all part of the bigger picture to have everything ready to go well in advance of a storm approaching,” said Chris Hackett PCI’s director of personal lines. “Take a few moments to talk with their insurance agent or company about your insurance needs, practice your emergency response plan with your family and don’t forget about your pets. We encourage you to do this now because you won’t have much time as a storm is approaching.”

In order to qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding, a city or state is required to submit a plan detailing its disaster preparedness program. The PETS Act also requires authorities to include how they will accommodate households with pets or service animals when presenting plans to FEMA.

“With 62 percent of U.S. households owning a pet, the need to include animals in emergency plans was – and remains – greater than ever,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association president and chief executive officer. “Pets form an integral part of American families, and numerous disasters have proven that people will not evacuate from dangerous situations if they believe that they cannot take their pet along or if they feel they do not have a safe place to shelter their pet until they can return home.”

It’s important to plan for pet’s needs during a disaster.

FEMA Pet Checklist:

  • Identifying shelter. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to allow pets well in advance of needing them. There are also a number of guides that list hotels/motels that permit pets and could serve as a starting point. Include your local animal shelter's number in your list of emergency numbers. They might be able to provide information concerning pets during a disaster.

  • Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, manual can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they're not available later. Before you find yourself in an emergency situation, consider packing a "pet survival" kit which could be easily deployed if disaster hits.

  • Make sure identification tags are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home.

  • Make sure you have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.

  • Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can't escape.

For more information on how to prepare hurricane visit PCI’s Hurricane Headquarters.

For more information on how to prepare your pet for a disaster visit:

FEMA’s Ready.gov/caring-animals tips and tools for pet owners

American Humane Association tips on protecting families, children and pets before, during and after hurricanes.

PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross-section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write over $195 billion in annual premium, 39 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write 46 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 32 percent of the homeowners market, 37 percent of the commercial property and liability market, and 41 percent of the private workers compensation market.

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