7 December 2023

RSPCA WA is reminding pet owners to include their animals when making their bushfire plan.

Including pets in emergency planning greatly increases the likelihood of animals being evacuated safely, rather than having to leave them behind.

Executive Manager Animal and Enforcement Operations, Hannah Dreaver, said the recent Wanneroo bushfire was a tragic reminder that we all need to be prepared.

“Our heart goes out to everyone who suffered loss through that fire,” Hannah said.

“I think what struck so many people about that blaze is that it impacted people in suburban areas – the same kind of cul-de-sacs and streets so many of us live in.

“Often when we think of bushfires, we think of country areas and large bush properties, but this fire really brought home how important an emergency plan is for everyone.

“Evacuating pets in a crisis can often be complex as many evacuation centres are unable to accept pets so you need to plan ahead.”

RSPCA WA’s top tips for including pets in emergency evacuation plans are:

  • Make sure your pets are microchipped and wearing council registration tags so they can be identified quickly if you get separated.
  • Have a kit packed and ready to go including regular medications, food, water, bowls, and vet and microchip details.
  • For cats, you’ll need to include a secure carrier and a cat litter tray and some litter.
  • Talk to family and friends who don’t live in your area and create a list of those willing and able to take them in, including their phone numbers.
  • Tell your neighbours about your pet evacuation plan so if you’re not home in time, they can carry it out for you.
  • If you can’t take your pet with you, do not leave them tied up – it will prevent them from escaping if they need to.
  • If you can’t take your pet with you, leave out extra food and water as it could be several days before you can regain access. If you can, leave a note on your front door listing what pets are inside.

The RSPCA has many online resources to help you plan for your animals’ safety in an emergency. These include a plan template, and printable cards you can leave in your wallet or car to let people know you have pets at home.

For more information and to create your bushfire plan, head to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services bushfire plan website.