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October 3rd, 2019 | By Alicia Silverstone

Fall is here and I can’t help but reflect on the last year’s wildfires here in SoCal. A study published this summer in the journal Earth’s Future states that human-caused climate change has significantly enhanced California’s wildfires.  In fact, California’s wildfires are now 500 percent larger due to climate change… It’s extremely terrifying.

You may have seen the heartbreaking photos from California’s 2018 wildfires, if you haven’t already they’re hard to swallow but it’s the reality of what can happen to our furry friends when disaster strikes. It’s so devastating to think about these scenarios.. but it’s absolutely best to be prepared. Here’s what CAL Fire recommends:

  • Plan ahead. Know where you will take or leave your pets. In case you are not home when disaster strikes, arrange in advance for a neighbor to check on or transport your pets. Make sure your neighbors have your contact numbers (cell phone, work, home, etc.). In the event of evacuation pets may not be allowed inside human emergency shelters – have an alternate prearranged location to take your animals.
  • Make sure your pets are always wearing properly fitted collars with personal identification, rabies and license tags.
  • Each animal should have it’s own pet carrier. Birds, rodents and reptiles should be transported in cages. Cover cages with a light sheet or cloth to minimize their fear.
  • Store medical records, veterinary contact information, proof of owner- ship, a current photo, and a Disaster Preparedness Kit in one location.

Companion Animal Disaster Preparedness Kit

  • Carrier for each animal
  • Two week supply of food and water
  • Non-spill food and water bowls
  • First-aid kit
  • Potential medications and dosing instructions
  • Car litter box and litter (if applicable)
  • Bags for waste disposal
  • Paper towels
  • Leashes/collars/harnesses
  • Blankets
  • Toys and treats

One thing not mentioned above is the new app, Evac-U-Pet.  Evac-U-Pet is a free app that answers the challenge of emergency animal evacuation by linking animals in need with the volunteers and transport to haul them to safety, providing automatic connections and routing in real time. In the agonizing instance that you are not able to go home, or you have to evacuate asap but may not have the ability to immediately grab your furry family member..  Maybe the companion animal is outside and out of sight, or he/she panicked and already ran off… Evac-U-Pet can be a life saver.

Here’s how it works:


During the Sand Fire in Los Angeles County in 2016, Evac-U-Pet co-founders Morgan Walston and Amanda Baudo were doing everything they could to help evacuate animals: Morgan was utilized her truck and horse trailer while Amanda, investigated various Facebook groups and pages to locate animals in need. Social media is no doubt useful to call for help and share quick updates, but it can also get messy with so much going on in a newsfeed. Morgan and Amanda knew there had to be a better, more efficient way to help animals evacuate and get them out of harms way. It was from this that Evac-U-Pet was born.

Evac-U-Pet recently launched in Los Angeles County and plans to go nationwide. The app is designed so that pet owners can create a profile for themselves and their animals (name/location/image), as well as register to volunteer, transport, or house animals during emergencies. In an emergency situation, the app will contact both animal owners within the emergency area, as well as volunteers within the transport radius. The app will ask if an owner’s animals need evacuation, and if a volunteer is able to assist. The app automatically pairs a volunteer with animals they are equipped to evacuate, taking into consideration transportation abilities  and the radius they can travel. Routing information from the volunteer’s location to the location of the animals is downloaded directly to the volunteer’s phone, so in the case of loss of signal, all of the information is still available. Routing information is updated in real time with road closures.

Animal owners can track their pets’ location from their end of the app while the animals are in transit to make sure they go where they are supposed go.

Be prepared and increase your loved ones safety. Review the tips above and register your furry friend today on Evac-U-Pet. No companion animal but love animals?? Sign up as a volunteer and be a rescue angel! Evac-U-Pet is available in the Apple and Android stores and it’s completely free.


Top Photo: ASPCA


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