Are Your Pets Prepared for Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season is far from over, which creates a season that demands greater awareness and preparation for people with pets.

Hurricane Ida roared through New York City and surrounding areas just as September, aka National Preparedness Month, began. Sadly, more than 50 people were killed by the heavy rains and flooding in the Northeast, including 13 people in New York City.

Hurricane season is far from over, and threats from more deadly storms remain. Those threats, combined with lingering risks from the COVID-19 pandemic, create a potentially complicated season that demands greater awareness and preparation for everyone, including – and perhaps especially – people with pets.

To raise awareness about emergency preparedness, NYC Emergency Management held its annual Protecting One Another: Pets and Service Animal Preparedness Fair on September 9th in Union Square Park. As a member of the Animal Planning Task Force of NYC Emergency Management since 2006, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals has worked with the City of New York and numerous task force partners over the years to create and implement a comprehensive plan to keep New Yorkers and their pets safe when disaster strikes. 

We encourage you to read the informative Ready New York: My Pet’s Emergency Plan, (also available in other languages and audio format) on the NYC.gov website. You’ll find a great deal of useful information to help you:

• Make an emergency plan that includes all members of your family, including your pets;
• Provide your pets with adequate identification (including microchips for dogs and cats and licenses for dogs) to help reunite them with you should you become separated;
• Prepare a “go bag” that contains the supplies and information you’ll need to have close at hand should you and your pets need to evacuate your home; and
• Discover other helpful tips, which you might not have considered.

In the event that the City’s emergency shelter system is opened, and you cannot shelter your pets at a kennel or with friends or relatives outside the evacuation area, pets are allowed at all City evacuation centers.

Check out the Alliance’s Prepare Your Pets for Emergencies page for additional links to information from a range of emergency preparedness expert sources, including American Red Cross, American Veterinary Medical Association, ASPCA, Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), RedRover, and others.

The HSUS video, Evacuate your pets safely during disasters, provides some useful preparedness tips.

Are Your Pets Microchipped?

Having your pets microchipped is one of the best ways to increase their chances of being reunited with you if you become separated. Check out our website and also the Michelson Found Animals website for important information. Read about why the most important step in microchipping your pet is to register the microchip with a microchip registry, and to update the information whenever you change your address or phone number. And when you register the microchip, it’s always a good idea to provide a secondary contact, such as a trusted friend or family member, in case you cannot be reached.

A registered microchip is extremely important as a permanent means of identifying your dog or cat. But we also recommend having a dog tag affixed to your dog’s collar that displays your current phone number. If your dog is found running loose, a Good Samaritan can quickly call you and let you know your dog has been found and make arrangements to be reunited with you.  

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