November 8 marks the one-year anniversary of the Camp Fire – California’s most deadly and destructive wildfire to date. RedRover Responders were called in to help North Valley Animal Disaster Group (NVADG) care for hundreds of animals displaced by this unprecedented crisis. And we returned in December to help reunify missing pets with their families. While it was an intense deployment, there were still moments of joy as our volunteers witnessed numerous reunions between pets and their people, and saw the gratitude in the eyes of those who lost so much.
But sadly, a year later there are folks (and their pets) affected by the Camp Fire who are still displaced and in the process of rebuilding all that was lost.
There no longer appears to be a “fire season” in California – it seems to be extending to more of a year-round occurrence as evidenced by the recent Northern and Southern California fires (Kincade Fire, Maria Fire and others). The state’s dry vegetation and high winds have continued to fuel fires from north to south. And the threat of these unprecedented wildfire events only continues.
So what can you do to prepare yourself and your pet when an emergency evacuation is imminent? Where can you turn to for help?
During times of major crises, RedRover creates an extensive resource list for pet owners. This list includes national lodging and boarding options, links to emergency veterinary assistance applications, local and statewide organizations to follow for the latest updates on the named disaster, helpful tips and so much more.
Before evacuating, pet owners should make sure to bring appropriate pet supplies such as a crate or cat carrier, litter box, food, water, medications, collar, leash, medical records, water/food bowl, photos of you and your pet (for identification purposes) and bedding.
Additionally, American Red Cross recommends holding onto information about feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior issues and the name and number of a veterinarian.
RedRover’s resource webpage offers a list of pet-friendly lodging options such as:
- VCA Animal Hospitals
You may have heard the rumor that by law, hotels must accommodate your pets. That is false. The FEMA website clarifies, “There are reports that all emergency shelters and hotels are required to accommodate pets for people who have been evacuated. This is FALSE. The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act (Pub. L. 109-308 (2006)) requires all state, local, tribal, and territorial governments that receive FEMA assistance to make plans to accommodate household pets and service animals during emergencies.”
In addition to the hotels, there may also be pet-friendly emergency shelters available in the nearby area, or veterinarians who may be able to board your furry friend.
RedRover’s Relief program offers financial grants for emergency veterinary care for qualified applicants year-round. These grants are intended to fill a small gap in funding that could enable an animal to get the emergency care they need.
How Can You Help in Times of Crisis?
There are many ways you can help in time of need:
- Identify an animal shelter that is impacted by the crisis and search to see if they have a “wish list” for donated supplies
- Share RedRover’s resource list and other evacuation updates and emergency resources (from a trusted source)
- Become a RedRover Responders volunteer. Our specially trained RedRover Responders volunteers shelter and care for animals displaced by natural disasters and rescued in criminal seizures from cruelty conditions, such as puppy mills or hoarding situations. Half-day workshops are offered throughout the year in cities across the nation. For more information visit RedRover.org/volunteer.
Most importantly, make sure you have an evacuation plan in place for you and your furry friends before the next disaster strikes. Read our article “10 Essential Pet Disaster Preparedness Tips,” to inspire you to begin planning today!
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