10 Emergency Preparedness Tips Every Pet Owner Should Know

5. Crate train your pets ahead of time. This will allow for easy evacuation in the event of an emergency.

6. Give a set of house keys to a trusted neighbor. In case disaster strikes when you're not at home, they can get your pets to safety.

7. Pack a few disaster-preparedness bags. Keep one in your vehicle, another near the front door and one in your bedroom. “If a fire or earthquake blocks access to an area of your house, you'll be prepared with needed supplies,” says Lewis. Items to include in each kit: baby socks to protect paws, a three-day supply of food and water, a pet first-aid kit, a flashlight, radio, batteries, matches and saline. “In case of a fire with heavy smoke, you can pull into a parking lot and wash out soot and debris from their eyes with the saline,” she adds.

8. Store current medications for each of your pets in separate, resealable plastic bags, so you can grab them quickly in an emergency. Clearly mark each bag with the individual pet's name, and include a printout of each critter’s medication schedule.

9. Keep a fire extinguisher in your vehicle, as well as your home.

10. Go beyond just placing "pets inside" stickers on your windows. “During fire season, I leave directions on the front door instructing rescuers how to access the back of my house, where my dogs and cats stay when I am not home,” says Lewis. “And make the area where your pets are located accessible to emergency workers because they are limited on time.”

Lewis hopes that a fire never encroaches on her home again, but unlike a decade ago, she has a game plan in place. “The Lemon Heights Fire was a real wakeup call for me,” she says. “If I’m given five minutes to evacuate, I know what to do, and in what order, to keep my pets safe.”

More on Vetstreet.com:

* 5 Common Pet Emergencies You Can Easily Avoid

* 10 Common Issues This Vet Dreads the Most

* 9 Items You Need in Your Pet's First Aid Kit

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