Preparing for Disaster

Long before Disaster

Disaster Kit

Upon a Disaster Warning

During Disaster/Evacuation

Returning after Disaster

Canadian Marine Mammal Rescue Network

Checklist - Livestock/Horses

A checklist for companion animals can be found below. For more detail on selected items, please click on the corresponding number in each section. A complete checklist and details are also available for download as a PDF document.

- Complete Checklist & Details -

Preparing for a Disaster - Canada
Plan ahead for a disaster so that there is no panic at the time you must be efficient.

Securing a farm for possible disasters:

1. Reinforce barn, house, and all other buildings

2. Only plant native, deep rooted plants and trees around your farm

3. Remove any dead trees and debris in the immediate area

4. Adjust fencing to allow animals to move to safety

5. Determine alternate water and power sources that will be functioning during disaster conditions

6. Secure potentially hazardous items

7. Keep all hazardous material labeled and safe

8. Check wiring to ensure it is safe and not a fire hazard

9. Ensure safety of all heat sources

Long Before a Disaster

1. Emergency plan

2. Appoint a “responsible person” (living at the farm)

3. Appoint a “responsible person” (not living at the farm)

4. Make and post a list of emergency contacts

5. Post emergency plan and emergency contacts in clearly visible areas around farm

6. Prepare multiple evacuation routes in case some roads are closed

7. Prepare appropriate transportation of all animals for evacuation

8. Appoint experienced drivers and handlers to look after animals during transport

9. Get animals familiar with transportation

10. Train animals to tether

11. Have proper identification attached to all animals

12. Identify possible evacuation locations

13. Make a list of emergency veterinary facilities outside your immediate area

14. Maintain current vaccinations and tetanus for all your animals

15. Find out where lost animals are placed in the event of a disaster

16. Keep insurance coverage on property and animals up to date for the types of disasters you may encounter

17. Assemble a Disaster Kit

Disaster Kit
This should be assembled long before a disaster in a durable, waterproof, easy to move container. They should be stored in an easy to access location away from extreme temperatures.

1. Food and water

2. Food and water buckets

3. Hay

4. Bedding

5. Emergency contact lists

6. Medications

7. Basic animal 1st aid kit

8. Supplies for temporary identification

9. Non-nylon handling equipment for each animal

10. Leg wraps (if appropriate)

11. Ladders

12. At least 100 feet of hose

13. Blankets

14. Cleaning and husbandry supplies

15. Current animal information in a sealable, waterproof bag:

a. List of all animals

b. Name, address, and phone #

c. Emergency contact informationd.

d. All animals’ location on the farm

e. Feeding records of all animals

f. Copy of vaccination records of all animals

g. Drug treatment records

h. Copy of records of medical tests

i. Proof of ownership for all animals

j. Microchip number (if appropriate)

k. Name, phone #, and address of veterinarian

l. Current photos

16. All purpose knife

17. Wire cutters

For You:

18. Batteries/Solar powered energy supply

19. Flashlight

20. Radio

21. Cell phone and charger

22. Map of local area including evacuation routes

Upon Warning of a Disaster/Evacuation
At the first warning of disaster, assess the particular situation and begin evacuation procedures (if feasible) to ensure that you and your animals get out safely. Keep in mind that you cannot pull heavy trailers in high winds. You also need to make sure that there are spaces available in your prearranged evacuation locations. If you wait until the last moment, you and your animals may not be able to leave the area.

1. Notify all emergency workers including handlers and drivers

2. Begin emergency plan

If you are evacuating the animals:

3. Bring all animals indoors so that you do not have to search for them

4. Check that all collars and identifications are securely fastened on the animal

5. Attach identification of the emergency shelter to the animals

6. Ensure disaster kit is fully equipped and ready for quick departure

7. Get trailers and vehicles ready for loading animals

8. Place halters and lead ropes on all animals

9. Call evacuation location to ensure spaces are available for your animals

10. Load:

a. Disaster kit

b. Animals

During a Disaster/Evacuation
If possible, always evacuate your animals in a disaster situation. To determine whether or not you will be able to evacuate your animals depends on the type of disaster as well as the following criteria:

  1. Do you have adequate vehicles to move your animals safely?
  2. Do you have a shelter out of your immediate area which can house your animals?
  3. Does this shelter have fencing to separate the animals into appropriate groups?
  4. Does your pasture contain: non-native trees, power lines/poles, unsecured debris, barbed wire fencing, or is less than 1 acre in size? (any of these items would make it unsafe for your animals to be left out in a pasture during a disaster)

If you answered “yes” to these questions then it would be more appropriate for you to evacuate your animals than leave them in a pasture or a barn. 

If you are evacuating the area:

1. Take disaster kit with you

2. Keep animals in the groupings they are accustomed to while at the temporary shelter

If you are staying in disaster location:

1. Find a safe area for you and your animals

2. Bring disaster kit into safe area with you

3. Listen to the radio for information and do not come out of safe area until officials deem the area secure

If you are not home:

1. Contact your “responsible person”

2. Meet at predetermined location and assume responsibility of animals


If you must leave your animals behind:
If your animals cannot be evacuated, it is often better to release them into the pasture rather than keeping them confined in a shelter. By keeping them in a shelter, the animals are not able to protect themselves. In order to decide where to keep the animals, you must assess:

  1. The type of disaster
  2. The location of your shelter
  3. The ability of your shelter to withstand the elements

You must also assess your pasture. If your pasture:

  1. Does not contain non-native trees
  2. Does not contain power lines/poles
  3. Does not contain unsecured debris
  4. Does not contain barbed wire fencing
  5. Is larger than 1 acre in size
  6. Has a free access building for your animals to take shelter when necessary

If your pasture meets these criteria then your animals will have a better chance of survival being in the pasture rather than being contained in a shelter.

1. Post a clearly visible sign indicating the number, breed, and location of all animals left at the farm

2. Leave plenty of food and water in areas that are easily attainable by the animals

3. Leave an extra supply of food so rescue workers can feed the animals until your return

4. Do not tie animals

5. Do not let animals loose towards roads

After Returning from an Evacuation

1. Keep your animals confined until you have had a chance to locate damage

2. Survey the area around your home and barn

3. Check your animals

4. Be patient and give your animals time to settle back into their homes and routines

5. Initially, only release your animals during daylight hours so you can closely observe them

If you lose your animal:

1. Immediately report animal to animal shelters and find out where lost animals are being housed

2. Return to your neighborhood when area is safe to look for your animal

3. Contact animal shelters and/or emergency hotlines and have a description of the animal ready

4. Post and hand out lost animal flyers, including your animals picture, your name and phone #

5. Be patient, animals may stay hidden for long periods of time

If you find a lost animal:

1. Do not allow the animal near your animals

2. Contact animal shelter and/or emergency hotlines

3. Attempt to contain/halter the animal if it is safe to do so