DogFirstAidSeptember is National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. While there’s a lot of things that you can do to prepare you and your family for an emergency, don’t forget a plan for your pets.

Do you know if your local emergency shelter welcomes pets? Some Red Cross facilities do, but in areas in which schools are commonly used, there may be restrictions against housing animals with displaced people. In those cases the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition ( links animal rescue groups locally, regionally and nationally and helps local governments request response teams to hard-hit areas to help displaced people with their pets. Most emergencies are local, so to find out what accommodations are made for animals in disaster planning contact your local emergency management office in advance.

In last year’s Hurricane Sandy, tens of thousands of dollars raised by the Humane Society of the United States hasn’t been used for Sandy relief, according to documents filed with the state Attorney General. Make sure if you give to a group that your donation is earmarked for the kind of support you want to give. And you want to be sure your pets don’t get transported out of the area in disaster aftermath by planning ahead and supporting local groups who remain in the area for recovery.

To find your local animal shelter enter your zip code at If you’d like to support or participate in a relief team check out your local SART or CART team at by searching “citizen corps.” To create a family evacuation plan search “pets.”