It has been heartbreaking to see the impact of the floods on the people and their animals in NSW and Queensland. It’s a sombre reminder about the need to be prepared in case an emergency comes our way. Do you have a plan in place for your family and pets? Floods, fires and cyclones can be devastating. But by preparing, you greatly increase the likelihood of evacuating safely. BE PREPARED If you haven’t got a plan, now is the time to make one. And include your furry family members, too. Many evacuation centres won’t accept animals, except trained assistance dogs, so you’ll want to have a back-up plan. Friends, family or boarding facilities in a safe place are good temporary housing options for dogs or cats, while agistment sites, showgrounds or saleyards may be able to accommodate horse and farm animals during an emergency. Check your pet’s registration and microchip details to make sure you can be safely reunited in an emergency. For livestock, check your NLIS and PIC details and make copies. Preparing an emergency pet kit ahead of time will help you stay calm and in control. Your kit should include: Set time aside to practise your plan to make sure you are familiar with it in an emergency. For help making a plan, visit emergency.wa.gov.au. ACT EARLY If moving large animals to a safer place, do so early when emergency conditions are forecast to avoid unnecessary risk. Animals should only be left behind on your property as an absolute last resort, which means it is impossible to evacuate them. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, take the following measures to increase their safety: Find out more about how you can prepare for, respond to and recover from an emergency affecting animal welfare at agric.wa.gov.au. A MESSAGE FROM RSPCA WA INSPECTOR MANAGER KYLIE GREEN The cruel blow of cyclone Sejora definitely taught us to expect the unexpected. The community suffered, animals were lost, and in the aftermath roaming stock and feed loss became key welfare concerns. But through this period there were also some touching stories of communities pulling together to help affected families and pets. There’s so much we can’t control when emergencies strike, but a little preparation can go a long way to saving pets and livestock from distress, suffering or death if the worst does happen.