Taking care of animals during emergencies

Page last updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2017 - 6:00pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

It is the responsibility of landholders to ensure that animals are kept safe in the event of an emergency.

Landholders should take measures to ensure they can protect their animals without putting at risk the safety of both themselves and rescue workers.

Having emergency plans in place will help to guide response activities.


Animals respond differently to emergency situations, and may become frightened and stressed. The most important consideration in the short term is to ensure animals have access to a safe place with good quality water and food.

Consideration should be given to the following:


  • Determine access to food and water, and the safety of feed and water supply.
  • Dispose of perished, contaminated or water soaked foods in ways that will ensure stray or wild animals cannot eat it.
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Depending on the type and severity of the emergency, consideration must be given as to how animals can be evacuated if needed, and which is the best location to house animals for short, medium and long periods.

Consider the necessary equipment and supplies to care for animals and confinement conditions in temporary living settings.

Identify locations that facilitate access for owners to care for animals.

Timely evacuations will prevent further injuries.

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  • Ensure that animals are properly identified and report escaped animals to authorities and people coordinating the disaster response.

Hazardous materials

  • Evacuated animals should be located in areas where they will not be harmed by building structures, falling equipment and debris.
  • Keep animals away from areas where chemical products, batteries, petrol or fuels are stored.

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