Keeping pets safe during fire evacuations

As the Deep North Fire burns near Northport, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is offering important advice for ensuring the safety of animal companions should residences be threatened and evacuations be ordered. This information could be used to help save the lives of cats, dogs, companion birds and other animals who need to be included in evacuation plans.

In the event that an area is being evacuated, never leave companion animals behind to fend for themselves. According PETA, pets are not any better equipped to survive disasters than humans are.

When formulating an evacuation plan, it's important to have a destination in mind. Shelters for human victims don't always allow animals, but motels in the area will probably accept them in an emergency, according to PETA. Call destinations in advance, and find out which ones will accommodate animals.

Never leave animals unsupervised in a car, even in an emergency. Pets can panic and try to escape, or suffer from heatstroke once ambient temperatures rise above 70 degrees. This is true even if water is provided and the windows are slightly open.

Small animals should be placed in secure carriers. PETA advises that dogs should be leashed with harnesses because frightening sounds and unfamiliar surroundings may make them bolt and strangle.

When evacuating, people should take water and food bowls, their animal's favorite toy or blanket, a towel and enough food for at least one week.

Residents in areas affected by smoke and falling ash should make sure that animals are kept inside and avoid all outside activities, like running with dogs.

Please visit PETA.org for additional disaster-preparedness tips.

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