If the need arises for people to evacuate, there is an equal need for your pets to go with you. Don’t wait for disaster to strike — plan now!

Follow these steps to be prepared.

1. Make sure your pets always wear clearly marked identification. Dogs should wear leather or nylon collars with tags.

Cats should wear breakaway or safety collars, and, yes, they can wear tags, too. Remember, if your pets become frightened, they could get away from you.

2. Consider microchipping your pet as a means of permanent identification. If your pet is already chipped, is your information current? Check with your provider today.

3. Be certain all animals are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Are they wearing their tags?

4. Research safe, welcoming places to take your pet if an evacuation is called. Identify an evacuation route before the storm hits.

5. Make arrangements for family members or friends to evacuate your pet in case you are out of town when an evacuation is ordered.

6. Don’t forget your birds, reptiles or pocket pets (hamsters, gerbils, etc.). They need your protection, too.

7. Don’t forget the importance of planning for horses and other farm animals. Their size, shelter requirements, vaccination needs and transportation needs make planning crucial.

8. Prepare a portable pet disaster kit. Keep your important papers safe by using a sealed, waterproof bag.

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