Back-Up Plans & Emergency Contacts
We always need to be prepared to take care of our animals, especially during emergencies such as fire, earthquake, flood, power failure, or other local dangers. You also need to be prepared in case your pets have to be evacuated.
At Bat Country Pet Sitting, I will do all I can to provide my best care and service for your pets and property. However, there are some situations in which I may only be able to provide partial services and others where I won’t be able to reach your property or home at all.
In the event of the following:
- I am hospitalized and/or seriously incapacitated (car accident, etc)
- A local/city emergency or severe weather event leaves me unable to reach your home in the short or long-term, or
- I am actively evacuating my own home
a BatCo representative will reach out to you AND your local emergency contact and arrange for them to take over care of your pets.
While I do have a great network of fellow sitters who help back me up under normal circumstances, their busy schedules can make it difficult to help other sitters in unexpected emergencies. Please ensure that when you travel, your primary emergency contact is available to help in an emergency during the dates you’ll be gone, and has keys or other reliable method of entering your home.
Your identification of 1-2 emergency contacts will be requested prior to sitting services starting. BatCo will attempt to reach these contacts via phone/voicemail, email and text, in the event I am in an emergency situation and I cannot provide care or reach your home.
I am not responsible for your pets or home if you have not provided an appropriate contact list, if your emergency contacts cannot be reached or don’t return BatCo’s calls/texts/emails, and/or if I cannot safely reach/enter your home due to disaster, local weather emergency, closed roads, etc.
I suggest that you set up the following contacts:
1. One for emergency help. For example, if I am unable to tend to your pets and home if I suffer a debilitating injury or accident (car accident, hospitalization, death) during the time I am scheduled to house or pet sit for you. Should this happen, your emergency support person will be contacted immediately by a BatCo client contact representative and asked to take over care of your pets.
Your emergency contact should ideally be a trusted and locally available family member, neighbor, or friend who has keys or other guaranteed entry to your home and the written authority to speak for you and act in your place and who will available on short notice while you’re away.
2. One for disaster help. Someone who can provide feeding, care and/or transportation for your pets and animals before, during, or after a severe weather event (hurricane, flooding, tornado etc), earthquake, fire, evacuation, major power outage or similar disaster or emergency.
Think hard about who your trusted critical emergency contact/s will be.
Your disaster emergency contact should ideally live well out of your geographic risk area and in some cases, might be an out-of-state contact. This is crucial, because if your disaster emergency contact lives nearby, and is affected by the same snowstorm, power/grid failure, flood, or tornado, they may not be unable to provide appropriate or timely care.
Your emergency contact should be far enough away to be outside of the emergency zone, but close enough to reach your home in enough time to feed, medicate, or move your pets (if evacuation or emergency care is needed).
Does your contact KNOW they’re your emergency contact?
Make sure your contact KNOWS that they are your emergency contact! You should have their input when creating your family disaster plan, and they should have reliable methods of entry and access to your home and property.
It is also recommended that they are experienced in using horse/stock trailers, animal crates, tack, leads, and anything else your particular pets/animals require for emergency care, movement, housing, etc. Your small pets’ crates etc should fit in their primary mode of transport, as well.
Preparation & Training
Practice your plans with your contact—it’ll save time and grief in an actual emergency. It won’t help anyone if your Great Dane’s travel kennel won’t fit in their tiny Chevy Aveo!
This is a lot to do on your end, and a lot to ask of your contact/s. In the best case scenario, however, they’ll be acting as YOUR back-up emergency contact, also, and you’ll both then be in a position to care for each others’ animals and property in a serious emergency. Remember–these are family members, not just ‘pets’ or ‘animals’. We are their Guardians, and they rely on us for care, love, and good health.
Take the time to first familiarize yourself with the various methods of first aid and emergency care your pets and home might require. Then methodically start putting together a basic human AND pet first aid kit (even a small kit is better than none) and your disaster preparedness plan. Taking steps now to learn and prepare can save lives!
Severe Weather Emergencies
These are primarily significant, hazardous weather events such as: blizzards/snowstorms, earthquakes, rainstorms and floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and massive power outages or grid failure. You can trust BatCo to use best judgment in caring for your pets(s) and home if we are servicing your pet(s) at the time of inclement or severe weather. BatCo will try to carry out your instructions to the best of our ability.
However, it’s up to you to provide the final planning for your pet’s care, and this includes:
- Creating, practicing and appropriately sharing your disaster plan
- Ensuring that you have at least one personal trusted contact who can and will act in your place to provide the home care plan or the rescue/evacuation plan your pets or animals need to survive
- Knowing what kinds of emergencies might happen in your immediate area and informing your pet sitters and back-up care givers of any information that can help them provide appropriate service, such as: are you living in an area that floods regularly in heavy storms? Are you near areas that can burn quickly? Does your neighborhood lose power easily in a storm?
The care I provide to my client’s pets and their safety is my first concern.
The emergency plan for clients is as follows:
- Every effort will be made to drive to your home
- The service schedule may be changed, interrupted, or altered due to weather/road conditions
- If it is not possible to reach or enter your home safely, your emergency contact will be notified
- You will be notified immediately that the above-mentioned contingency plan has been activated
Please remember that some garage door openers, number pads etc are not operational in the event of power outages. In the event that you do not provide a nearby contact with access to your home for BatCo’s records, customer realizes that BatCo will provide service as soon as possible, but not until power has been restored to your area, conditions allow us to reach your home safely, and/or until we are no longer in an evacuation situation, if one exists.
We are not responsible for your pets or home if you have not provided an appropriate contact list, if your emergency contacts cannot be reached or don’t return our calls, and/or if we cannot safely reach/enter your home.
Vaccinations & Microchips
I ask that all dogs and cats under my direct care have the necessary rabies vaccination as required by state and local laws. This requirement may be waived, depending on the pet’s living circumstances, age, titer levels, etc. If your pet escapes or becomes lost during a disaster or emergency, they are at risk of coming into contact with domestic and wild animals that can carry rabies and other diseases.
Microchipping your dogs and cats can make the difference between being reunited with your pet if he’s lost and never seeing your beloved pet again. Getting your pets microchipped is a very inexpensive and easy procedure.
Evacuation: In the event pets need to be evacuated or boarded with little to no notice, being able to provide proof of rabies vaccination can potentially make life a lot easier. If an evacuation shelter, or other community area requires rabies vaccinations, or if the vaccination status of your pet comes into question, you’ll be protected.
The American Veterinary Medical Association Saving the Whole Family© brochure offers a comprehensive list of what needs to be done to safeguard your pets before, during and after a disaster.
TexasPrepares.org Disaster Supply Checklist
University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine: Family Disaster Plan Should Include Pets
American Red Cross: Pets and Disaster: Be Prepared