During a disaster, evacuating your home is oftentimes necessary. You may have an evacuation plan for you and your family, but preparing to vacate with your pets is also important. Pet owners will often refuse to evacuate without their animals, so including them in your emergency plan is vital to the safety of the entire family.
Disaster Animal Response Teams (DARTs) across Vermont are committed to educating pet owners on how to prepare their furry friends for emergencies. To further ensure preparedness, Vermont DARTs have partnered with State Farm to provide go-bags for cat and dog owners to be used during an evacuation. State Farm has donated nearly 2,000 items, including collapsible water and food bowls, waste bag carriers shaped like dog bones, dog bite prevention coloring books, leashes and compact first aid kits, as well as cat and dog drawstring bags in which to store the items. Also included in the bags are enrichment pet toys from the Greater Good Foundation, and pet food lids and disaster preparedness information from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
Some regional teams have distributed go-bags to local animals shelters to be given out with every cat and dog adoption, as well as distributed them at community events. They are also provided at food distribution events to ensure that pet families with food insecurities are included.
“Thanks to the generous donation of disaster supplies from our friends at State Farm, Greater Good and the HSUS, the Windham Disaster Animal Response Team (WinDART) assembled 200 starter go-kits to be distributed to pet families in Windham County,” said Joanne Bourbeau. “WinDART has been giving the kits away during pop-up food pantry events. Recently, we also distributed bags to pet families who are sheltering with their pets in homeless shelters.”
“Our team held two events – one in Barre and one in Cabot – where we passed out 200 bags,” adds Lisa Lemieux with the Central Vermont DART. “Needless to say, they were a big hit! More importantly, we were able to educate local communities on the importance of pet and human preparation in the event of an emergency. Thank you, State Farm!”
For more information on how to prepare your pet for an emergency, visit the Vermont Disaster Animal Response Team.
Jennifer Young, CPCU
Corporate Responsibility Analyst – NJ, NY, CT, NH, VT & ME