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Emergency Pet Welfare

It is important to ensure you have a contingency plan for the care of your pet, in the case of an evacuation.
Making arrangements for your pet
If you are evacuated in an emergency you must make arrangements for your pets.  The best way to ensure your pet is safe is to agree with friends or family in advance that you will take in each others pets should an emergency occur.  Ensure that this pet sitter does not live in the immediate area.

It is important to ensure you have a contingency plan for the care of your pet, in the case of an evacuation.

Making arrangements for your pet.

If you are evacuated in an emergency you must make arrangements for your pets.  The best way to ensure your pet is safe is to agree with friends or family in advance that you will take in each others pets should an emergency occur.  Ensure that this pet sitter does not live in the immediate area.

Pet emergency kit.

Prepare a pet emergency kit including:

Your pet may be able to remain with you at the rest centre if the evacuation is only a few hours, however, there is limited space to accommodate pets and they will still be your responsibility whilst at the rest centre.
Don’t forget about outside pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoises and so on.

Larger animals and livestock.

It is very difficult to evacuate large animals with little notice so think in advance where you may be able to take your livestock in an emergency.  For example you may be able to set up an arrangement whereby a neighbouring farm will temporarily house you animals.

There are some suggestions below which may help to ensure your livestock/outdoor pets are kept safe in emergency:

Disease Outbreaks.

In an animal disease outbreak controls are placed over the movement of certain livestock to reduce the spread of disease and deliver traceability.  Therefore, if you are unable to move your livestock/outdoor pets ensure they are as far from danger as possible, and have shelter and food to last them several days.

Animal Welfare Establishments Contingency Plan Template

It is important to make the time now to draw up arrangements that need to put in place to respond to an emergency. The midst of an incident is not the time to start figuring out who should be doing what. 

This “Contingency Plan template for Animal Welfare Establishments” is to assist organisations and individuals in writing their own contingency plan. The template is not exhaustive – it is a starting point from which more detailed, specific plans can be developed. 

More information and advice on animal welfare is available from the following organisations:

Contingency Plan Template – things to include

1. Aim.

List the aim of the plan.

2. Objectives.

List how the plan intends to achieve the aim.

3. Scope of the plan.

What is covered within the plan and most importantly - what isn't. For example you may hold a separate plan that covers business continuity and routine emergencies ( e.g. a pet escaping from its kennel ).

4. Roles and Responsibilities.

List the roles and responsibilities of key staff in an emergency situation. Make sure that staff are aware of what is expected of them and are trained in any roles that are not routinely carried out within the premises.

5. Activation.

List how staff would be made aware that an emergency had occurred and who they should contact.

6. Hazards and Risks.

List the types of indentified hazards/risks that the plan covers e.g.:

7. Veterinary Care.

Include arrangements for providing veterinary care for the animals in your care whether through your own vet or via the pets own veterinary provider. Detail the response during and outside of normal office hours ( e.g. evening and weekends ). Ensure the health histories of individual pets are recorded and vaccination certificates obtained.

8. Evacuation.

Include what arrangements would be put in place in case the need arose to evacuate the premises. List alternative accommodation for the animals in your care.

9. Communications.

List how you would communicate with the owners of pets in your care - ensure you hold emergency contact numbers where owners are out of the country. Ensure that pet records are backed up and held in a separate location in case originals are lost due to fire/burglary etc.

10. Specific Arrangements.

Deatil specific arrangemnents of how you would meet the risks and hazards identified in Section 6. Include procedures for quarantine arrangements in the event of serious illness.

11. Checklist for Key Staff.

Include checklists/action lists for key staff identified with roles in the plan. Ensure that these are readily accessible.

12. Emergency Contact List.

Include numbers for staff, veterinary surgeries, emergency services, utility companies, local animal welfare organisations, neighbouring kennels/catteries etc. This should be updated on a regular basis.

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