Aussies urged to put a pet evacuation plan in place amidst difficult bushfire season

The CFA and RSPCA recommends having bedding, food, and water ready to go for your pets in case of a fire. Source: Getty Images.

Summer has arrived and with it the risk of bushfires. Pet and livestock owners are being reminded to ensure they have a survival plan for their animals in case of bushfire emergencies in the coming months.

With spring temperatures already reaching new heights in some parts of Australia, predictions of a difficult bushfire season are afoot. 

The Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Victoria RSPCA have said that while the safety of families comes first, they are jointly reminding pet and livestock owners to consider their animals’ safety as the bushfire season approaches.

This entails having bedding, food, and water ready to go for them in case of a fire.

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan urged Aussies to have a bushfire relocation kit handy during high-risk bushfire days so they are ready to leave early if necessary.

“It can take longer than you think to move your pets, so make sure you can transport them efficiently and have towels and woollen blankets on hand to protect them,” Heffernan explained.

“Families should consider ahead of time whether their leave-early destination can accommodate pets, otherwise to have an alternative in mind.

“We also recommend microchipping your pets so they can be easily identifiable, with your phone number on their collar.

“On all hot days, especially on Extreme or Catastrophic fire risk days, it is also important that you try to keep your pets as cool as possible.”

Heffernan also suggested a plan for horses and livestock and offered recommendations on how to manage them when the fire risk escalates.

“It is safest for horses and livestock to be in a large well-grazed and fenced area on your property away from roads where they can move freely with a supply of water,” he said.

“Your plan should identify evacuation routes and which animals you intend to leave behind. You need to act quickly, as moving stock after a fire has started is dangerous.”

RSPCA Victoria’s Head of Prevention Rebecca Cook weighed in on the matter stating that knowing what you need for your pets in case of emergencies is crucial.

Her recommendations included storing photos of your pet’s important documents, identifying nearby pet shelters, establishing an emergency guardian and sharing your evacuation plan with someone you trust who can evacuate your pets if you aren’t home.

What to include in your pet’s bushfire relocation kit: 

Tips for keeping pets cool:

  • Have fresh, cold water available at all times
  • Ensure your pet has shade at all times or bring them inside into a cool room
  • Wipe your pet down with a cool, damp towel or leave wet towels out for them to lie on
  • Wet your dog with cool water several times throughout the day
  • Consider buying a wading pool for your dog
  • For cats, rub damp hands over their coat or along their tummy
  • Place ice blocks in your pet’s water bowl
  • Place ice in a pillow case and place it near your pets
  • Consider having your dog clipped if their coat is long and thick
  • Never leave your pets in a vehicle on a hot day.
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