Emergency Planning: Katrina Taught Us it’s Essential

Today marks the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

According to the ASPCA’s Olivia Melikhov, Katrina left 600,000 pets dead or homeless. Almost half of the people who did not evacuate during Katrina said it was because they didn’t think they could bring their animals with them.

Yet, even after all that, 35% of you DO NOT have emergency plans in place for the next storm.

I live in Florida and we’re in the middle of hurricane season. Folks in this area should keep their gas tank full, food and water to last up to a week, and a carrier or harness/leash per pet. They should have money set aside for accommodations in case of an evacuation and cash on hand just in case. Oh, and anyone on meds? Have those handy as well.

But emergencies can affect anyone. From wildfire to blizzards to tornadoes, you need a plan. Today would be a perfect day for you to make one. This infographic will help.



The ASPCA asks you to pledge to include your animals in disaster planning. You can do so here.

22 thoughts on “Emergency Planning: Katrina Taught Us it’s Essential

  1. we made such an sos kit with food, water, blankets, first aid kit & copies of all important papers and put it in a backpack. we never had an emergency case in our area, but better safe than sorry…

  2. We would be stupid not to have an emergency plan living on a boat. Our bugout bags and meds are checked frequently and easily at hand should they be needed in a hurry. One thing about our lifestyle is we have very little (material things) to worry about. It’s us, Us and US.

    1. Right! You have already learned the lesson of what’s truly important. Many of us don’t learn that until we’re faced with impending disaster!

  3. This is well organised in our house..wildfire being our threat…it starts right now in Winter and i have been killing myself clearing and burning off..then as Spring arrives all things are in place..bags sorted.portable cat enclosure dog runs maps meds first aid kits clothes bedding bowls vet paperwork torches radios scanners.
    The list is extensive…we were out of our home a month during Black Saturday…the dogs and cats in safe area boarding (with their own emergency contingency plan) and the sheep stayed with a family in a safe area…never underestimate what nature throws at you. Bev

  4. Thank you for this. I remember walking around the City in the weeks after the storm and seeing so many poor animals that did not make it.
    We set up feeding / water centers and tried feeding as many as we could. When we saw the Humane Society or the National Guard we let them know where the live animals and the bodies were.
    It is hard to blame the people. The City sent the police around and they told you that you had to leave but could not take your pets. It was crazy. We avoided those cops as much as possible and I kept my pets as close as possible.

    I am not going into the whole story but I will say do not blame those people. Most were told by NOPD or LA State Police you had to go “NOW” , you can not take any animals and that you would be back in a few days (at first that is what they said). They threatened with arrests and even with disease. (They claimed all kinds of diseases had went airborne in some magical way.) I have heard stories of NOPD getting physical and forcing people out of the City. The police were not easy to deal with.

    Yes! The best thing to come from all of this is that there are now government plans that include pets. People do include the pets in the evacuation / emergency plans. That is excellent. The loss of all the pets have made it so that future animals will get better care.

    Thank you again for this post.

    1. I am NOT blaming the people! I remember all too well what happened. There was poor planning all the way around, and it seems the poor were just as expendable to the powers that be as were the animals. But don’t assume because one city is doing a better job that all government agencies are. In the end, I’m depending on no one but me.

      1. Because babies are cute. Because I wanted to impress someone. Because I thought an animal would fill a void in my life. They said this animal would love me forever, but never mentioned that in return id have to feed it, scoop its litter box, and take it to the vet.

  5. We’ve made plans for what to do but still plans can go to hell. Not related to disaster, but just two days ago Terry & I wrote out cards for our wallets for what to do for our dogs in case of something happening to us. Thanks for this important post.

  6. I don’t care what’s going on, my first thought is my pets are coming with me! I don’t care if I’m “allowed” or not, I could never leave Chase behind!! Can’t believe people can do that…. *sign* 😦

  7. What a great, and sobering, reminder to always be prepared for disaster. Thank you for this, Jen and Rumpy.

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