JoDana Bright Taylor

EDITOR’S NOTE: The North Lincoln Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) works to help the community be prepared for disasters and various emergencies. One concern often heard is how overwhelming it seems to take all the steps needed to be prepared for a disaster. To address that issue North Lincoln CERT has embarked on a 52-Week Personal Preparedness Challenge.

This week’s preparedness article is written by Dr. Kriss Hoffman.  Dr. Hoffman is a Veterinarian at Lincoln City Animal Clinic and president of North Lincoln County Community Emergency Response Team.  Dr. Hoffman teaches an Animals in Emergencies class each year that is open to the public.  The next class is expected to occur in early 2017.

For the past weeks, we have been learning about preparedness for our families in the event of a disaster or emergency. For most of us, pets are family too. Regulations have evolved, especially since Hurricane Katrina, that allow us to take our pets with us when we evacuate. Let’s start with a few steps to get us going in the right direction. The first decision to make is whether to evacuate or to shelter in place. In either case, your pet needs its own supplies.


Get a rescue alert sticker to put on your front door. Information on these stickers alert rescue personnel to the type and number of animals in your home. If you evacuate with your pets, and you have time, write “Evacuated” across the sticker.

Have a place picked out where you know it will be safe for your pet to stay. This can be a kennel, friend, or a Veterinary clinic. Keep in mind that most places close to where you live may be affected by the same disaster as you. Do not leave your pets at home. If it is not safe for you, it is not safe for them. Be aware that many Red Cross shelters will not accept pets because of public health and safety reasons.

Pets need visible forms of identification like reflective collars or name tags. It is also helpful to have permanent identification such as a tattoo or a microchip. Have a picture of your pet taken with you as proof of ownership in the event that the two of you are separated. Proof of vaccination should be available in the event of being housed with other animals.


Prepare for a worst case scenario. You may need to take care of your pet for a while. For cats, it is essential that you have a portable carrier. Make certain it is large enough for the cat to turn around in. Have a “Pet To-Go Bucket” ready at a moment’s notice. Place it near the door with your supplies.

Some of the primary immediate needs in a disaster are food, water and shelter. In your Pet To-Go Bucket, have at least two weeks food in an airtight container. Store at least an equal amount of water specifically for your pet and include bowls for each. Have a manual can opener available. Keep a record of current medications that your pet takes on a daily basis. Check with your veterinarian for a supply and remember to rotate the food, water and medication over time.  

Make certain to have disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, liquid soap, paper towels and trash bags. Include extra zip lock bags as they can be used for many things. Household bleach can be used as a disinfectant and sanitizer for your animal’s bowls and carrier. Do not use any scented or color safe bleach.

For dogs, be sure to include a long leash, harness, yard stake and toys in the bucket. For cats, include litter in a large zip lock bag and a litter box. Disposable aluminum pans work well.


When the order comes to evacuate, get out as early as you can. Planning ahead will help ease this stressful time. If you have no alternative but to leave your pet, bring them inside. Do not leave them tied out. There are precautions you can take but remember that it can be dangerous to leave them.

Put your animals in a safe room inside. Place food and water out for them. Give them blankets for bedding. Choose a room with few windows. Have the sticker on your front door or place a notice in a highly visible place for rescue personnel.

If you have to shelter in place, injuries may happen to your pet. Next week we will discuss animal first aid and desired supplies for your pet first aid kit.

If you would like a representative from your local Community Emergency Response Team to come talk to your neighborhood group, church or business, please contact North Lincoln County CERT Public Information Officer JoDana Bright at 541-994-2700 or


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