Hurricane Readiness for Pet Owners
With the impending hurricanes we want all pet owners to be prepared even though Miami doesn’t seem to be in the path of Hurricane Florence (keeping fingers and paws crossed- we have until November 30th for hurricane season to be over). We wish for all of our fellow Americans along the east coast to be safe and secure, and we’re also sharing important information in this hurricane readiness guide on how to best deal with hurricanes when you have pets.
First, we urge you to take your pets with you. Hurricanes are traumatic and dangerous for humans and animals alike. Do your best to not leave them behind. For those of you living in Miami: there are several pet-friendly shelters that open when evacuations are called for, such as the E. Darwin Fuchs pet-friendly shelter, for example. If you decide to leave town when a hurricane strikes and need a pet-friendly hotel, please:
You can also call Bring Fido at 877-411-3436 for help,
Communication: Heavy storms cause issues with phone lines. Have back up plans for where to meet, and consider investing in walkie talkies for your family. For Equipaws Clients before, during, and after the hurricane: please continue to call our business line for any questions, and be sure to leave a message as well as email us. We’re going to do our best to be in touch with you before the storm and as soon as the storm is over and our team is once again safe.
Important links for hurricane readiness in Miami:
Where to take your pets if ordered to evacuate during a hurricane:
Pet Friendly Evacuation Centers (PFEC) open depending on the severity of the hurricane for pet owners residing in qualified evacuation zones, unsafe structures or mobile homes. Pet owners are urged to bring food and provisions for themselves and for their pets. For more information and updates, visit Miamidade.gov.
Requirements for admittance to Pet Friendly Evacuation Centers:
Provide proof of residency within an evacuation zone
Present medical and current vaccination records for each pet. Annual rabies vaccinations and a visible Miami-Dade County dog license are required by Miami-Dade County Code. Strict enforcement concerning these violations is essential to ensure a rabies-free community. Cats are also required to have annual rabies vaccinations.
Pet owners must bring supplies for themselves and their pet(s)
Limit four pets per household
Family member must remain in the PEC with the pet(s)
How to prepare for your pets during a hurricane:
1. Crate or carrier for each pet large enough for the pet to turn around in and cat carriers large enough for a small litter box
2. Pet Identification Forms for each pet with photos attached
3. Collar and leash for all pets (including cats) with ID and rabies tags on all collars and make sure they are microchipped. Some pet owners will write their phone numbers directly on their pets’ bellies with marker.
4. Vaccination records of each pet
5. Three-week supply of each pet’s medications
6. Sedatives for pets that frighten easily
7. Disposable litter boxes and scoop
9. Plastic bags, paper towels, and cleaning supplies
10. Three-week supply of food for each pet
12. Food and water bowls for each pet
13. Three-week supply of drinking water (you can fill your clean tub with water and use that for them).
14. Toys or blankets your pet will find familiar
17. Detailed instructions for animal care and rescue workers
18. Copy of emergency numbers and family evacuation plan
19. Copy of veterinarian’s information
20. Flashlight and batteries
21. Pet first aid kit: include bandaging material, antiseptic ointment, alcohol, gloves, tweezers, muzzle, and gauze
22. List of all hotels accepting pets in the area
23. First aid books for pets and humans
How to prepare your hurricane readiness kit for yourself:
Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
Food – at least enough for 3 to 7 days
Non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
Foods for infants or the elderly
Paper plates / plastic utensils
Clothing – seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes
First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs
Special Items – for babies and the elderly
Toiletries – hygiene items
Radio – Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
Cash – Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods.
Important documents – in a waterproof container
insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
Document all valuables with videotape if possible
Tools – keep a set with you during the storm
Vehicle fuel tanks filled
Shelters will open throughout South Florida in the event of a hurricane evacuation.
Keep in mind that not every center will be open for every evacuation, so call your local hurricane hotline to find out which centers will be open. Pet owners will have to register for pet-friendly evacuation.
Here is a list of all the hurricane shelters that may open during a hurricane evacuation:
Miami-Dade County: Hurricane Guide
– Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School (Pet-friendly) – North Miami Senior High School – North Miami Beach Senior High School – Highland Oaks Middle School – Miami Central Senior High School – Lawton Chiles Middle School – Hialeah Gardens Senior High School – Barbara Goleman Senior High School – Country Club Middle School – Miami Carol City Senior – Booker T. Washington Senior High School – Ronald Reagan Senior High School – Charles Drew Middle School – Miami Coral Park Senior High School – W.R. Thomas Middle School – Robert Morgan Educational Center – Terra Environmental Senior High School – South Dade Senior High School – South Miami Senior High School – Felix Varela Senior High School
Not every site will open for every evacuation. For Miami-Dade shelter addresses and evacuation routes, click here or dial 3-1-1 to find out which shelters will be open when an evacuation is announced.
For Broward shelter addresses and evacuation routes, click here or dial the emergency hotline at 3-1-1 or 954-831-4000.
Monroe County: Storm Ready Guide
– Coral Shores High School (Pet-friendly) – Key West High School (Pet-friendly) – Marathon High School (Pet-friendly) – Sugarloaf Elementary School (Pet-friendly)
Monroe County shelters will not open for Category 3,4, or 5 hurricanes. For more information about where to evacuate in the event of a Category 3 or higher, check the Monroe County Emergency Management website before a storm or call 1-800-955-5504.
Hurricane Visits for Equipaws Pet Services Clients
Visits before and after the storm
Daily Dog Walking Clients: First and foremost, please let us know if you’re going out of town to avoid the storm or if you will be home and do not need visits so we don’t send our employees out to your homes unnecessarily. If you do leave town, once you return, please reach out and let us know so we can resume our regular walking schedule once it is safe to do so. We will also reach out to you as soon as we are able to with any updates after the storm passes.
Pet sitting clients: The safety of our team and your pets is our priority. We will contact clients who can’t return in private messages to continue organizing your pets’ care and safety.
Best of luck to all of you riding out any natural disaster. Your team of Equipaws pet sitters will be here for you.
A founding member of the Equipaws family, Frankie can mostly be found working behind the scenes, helping co-create online branding, managing several social media accounts, designing brand collateral, writing copy, and managing events. She also fills in for pet sitters and dog walkers when needed in Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, and South Miami. Her own small pack consists of Boots the Shih Tzu mix and Nutmeg the Chiweenie.