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Keeping Pets Safe in An Earthquake

August 15, 2018
Keeping Pets Safe in An Earthquake

Can Animals Predict Earthquakes?

For decades, people have wondered if animals can predict earthquakes. The speculation comes from multiple reports of wildlife fleeing or exhibiting strange behavior before a quake hits.

Seismologists think that animals and their keener senses can detect early (but weak) earthquake shockwaves that humans don’t notice. But scientists are more skeptical that animals can reliably predict natural disasters.

Keeping Pets Safe During an Earthquake

Regardless of whether pets can serve as an earthquake early warning system, the real question is how to keep them safe once the shaking starts. All Californians should be prepared with emergency kits and an earthquake plan for your family. If your family includes pets, then your animals should be included in your disaster planning as well.

Here are some steps to take now to be sure you and your critters are ready when the next earthquake strikes:

  • Get an Animal Alert Sticker

    • Window stickers are available that let first responders know there are pets inside your house. Make sure the animal alert sticker is visible to rescue workers and that it includes the types and number of animals in your home, as well as the name and number of your veterinarian.

  • Outfit Pets With Current Identification Tags

    • Ensure pets are outfitted with up-to-date collars and ID tags so that they can be quickly identified if they get lost or flee from your house during an earthquake. Even if your pets are indoor animals, they should wear proper identification or be microchipped with your up-to-date contact information in case you get separated.

  • Designate a Temporary Caregiver

    • Find someone in advance who lives close to you or who has access to your house and who could pick up your pets or look after them until you can return home. Consider people who have successfully cared for animals before and who have already met your pets. 

  • Use the SPCA App

    • The free Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) mobile app shows pet owners what to do in case of a natural disaster. It allows you to:

      • Create a lost pet flyer that can be quickly shared on social media

      • Store and manage your pet’s health records

      • Receive customized step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal

Include Pet Supplies in Your Emergency Kit

Make sure that you’ve also added pet emergency supplies to your earthquake preparedness kit, especially since you may need to evacuate from your home after a damaging earthquake. Your pet contents should include:

  • Extra leashes or collars

  • Three to seven days’ worth of dry or canned food and water, plus any pet medicines

  • Current pictures of your pets and you together, plus vaccination records

  • Disposable garbage bags for pet waste

  • Pet feeding dishes and water bowls

While pets are not covered by CEA earthquake insurance policies, our “Loss of Use coverage” could let them and their owners stay in a pet friendly hotel. Know what pet-friendly hotels are nearby and advise your customers accordingly, since many emergency shelters do not accept pets other than service animals.

Working together, we can help prepare not only your customers but also their animals in advance of an earthquake, and you can counsel them on how to keep their entire household safe.

Get more information with the Red Cross’ Pet Disaster Preparedness Plan and FEMA’s Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies brochure.



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