Pet emergency evacuation kits urged by response group

MERRAG says it's as important as yours

Pet evacuation essentials urged as part of emergency kits. (John Palminteri/

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - In the midst of an evacuation either one that's abrupt or even with some warning, if you are a pet owner, you might forget some essentials your pet will need. 

"That's why it's important to have a kit ready ahead of time," said Sue Ziliotto with MERRAG, the Montecito Emergency Response and Recovery Group, now in its 30th year.

A special class for its staff members and pet owners was held Thursday.

"If you have to evacuate with them you should be able to pick that kit up and go," said Ziliotto. "That has everything in it that's in your own kit that should be prepared also."

In a session at the Montecito fire station, there was a table full of pet essentials.

That included food, bowls, paperwork, and a familiar blanket or toy.

"He knows that no matter where he is, that if I roll this blanket out this belongs to him and this is where he sleeps and he feels a little safer," she said. "Right now I think everyone is concerned about earthquakes and what we are talking about with animals. If you are home, you may have to shelter in place with your animal you should have everything ready to do that."

During the last evacuation, many residents went to hotels with their pets. One had pre made signs. "I laminated for the door that said, 'animals inside please do not open' and I taped that to the outside of the door so that housekeeping staff and somebody would escape," said Ziliotto 

A ready-made lost animal flyer can also speed up the search. "If he gets loose when we are evacuated I just have to go and make copies of this."   

Also, have a picture of you with your animals. "That way if somebody else finds it and tried to claim it, you've got the picture with your animal."

The Equine Evac group also made a presentation about its services for large animals and facilities ready to go at the Earl Warren showgrounds.

They have a rapid response volunteer team that's launched when evacuations are called.   

There are hundreds of stalls ready for the animals and a coordinated check in program when the evacuations are underway.

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For Equine Evac go to:

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