Our hearts go out to the families and individuals who have been affected by the bushfires in NSW and Queensland. With summer finally here, the hot weather can bring many unpredictable circumstances, and if your home is located near bush, grassland or coastal areas, it is imperative you have a Bushfire Survival Plan that includes your pets. The safest option is to relocate far away from high-risk bushfire areas on severe, extreme and catastrophic fire danger days.
Like any emergency drill, your evacuation needs to be well practiced. It will always take longer than expected, but if you practice a few times a year you will have the confidence to work through what needs to be done in a logical order. Ensure every member of the family knows the plan and where to find the necessary equipment.
Include your pets in your plan
If your plan is to leave early, think about what you’ll do with your pets. Remember, on Code Red days the safest place to be is away from high-risk bushfire areas. If you choose to take your pets with you, it’s important to confine them early and remember:
- Pets are safest on a lead or in carriers;
- Make sure they have plenty of water to drink;
- Have an emergency kit for your pets stored within easy reach;
- Practise how you will move your pets when you leave;
- Make a list of where you could house your pets. This could include boarding kennels, a relative/friend’s place or you may be able to keep them with you.
If you travel to a high-risk bushfire area for a holiday, make sure you have a plan to keep you and your pets safe on hot, dry, windy days.
It is important that your pets are always microchipped and wearing an identification tag. Ensure all contact information is current and include an emergency contact linked to your pets’ records. Central Animal Records provides free identification for cats and dogs. Visit www.car.com.au.
Don’t get caught out. Make sure your pets are well away from high-risk bushfire areas on all hot, dry, windy days.
Prepare an emergency kit for your pets
Your emergency kit for pets should include:
- Food and water;
- A bowl for each pet;
- A second collar and lead;
- A carrier for cats and smaller pets;
- Bedding and a woollen blanket;
- A pet first-aid kit – seek your vet’s advice;
- A favourite toy;
- Any medications your pet is taking and a written list of them;
- Your pet’s medical history, including proof of vaccination;
- Your vet’s contact details.
Pet injuries after a fire
If your pets do unfortunately suffer a burn injury during a fire, they must receive immediate treatment. As soon as it is safe to do so, take your pets to the nearest vet clinic or animal shelter. In the interim, treat affected areas with cool water.
For your personal safety and bushfire plan, visit your local emergency websites.