Evacuation of Pets Can Pose Challenges for Families Fleeing from Disasters
By David Foust, American Red Cross Southern California Region
Not everyone can say they own a dragon! Evacuating from disasters like wildfires can be challenging for families, especially when they have an assortment of pets and large animals. The Holland family, including dad Kevin, mom Rachel, and kids Abigail (12 years old) and Wyatt (7 years old) realized this when their community of Forest Falls, California came under mandatory evacuation orders as a result of the El Dorado Fire in Southern California. Packing up to leave meant transporting and finding shelter for their three horses, four dogs, two cats, 10 chickens, one snake, one bearded dragon lizard, and a guinea pig named ‘Rocky.’
After most of the Holland’s animals were sheltered in safe havens with friends, the family came to the American Red Cross Temporary Evacuation Point at Redlands East Valley High School to find shelter for themselves - their snake and dragon included!
Red Cross volunteers at the Temporary Evacuation Point were able to find a hotel room for the family to safely stay until evacuation orders are lifted.
Right now Red Cross volunteers are helping hundreds of people displaced by the El Dorado Fire and the Valley Fire in Southern California, providing emergency lodging, hydration and meals, health and wellness checks, emotional support and more for evacuees.
Visit redcross.org/wildfire or download the free Red Cross Emergency App for more information on what to do before, during and after wildfires. For information on pet disaster preparedness and for tips for evacuating with animals, visit redcross.org/pets.