WITH summer well underway, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and RSPCA WA are urging residents to include pets in their bushfire survival plans.
DFES director community preparedness Suellen Flint said more than 60 per cent of Australian households included a much loved pet, but actions for keeping them safe were often left out when planning the family bushfire survival plan.
“Given we hold animals so close to our hearts, it is only natural that bushfire survival plans should include what you will do with your animals if you need to evacuate,” she said.
DFES and RSPCA WA recommend community members talk to their local government regarding where their pets could stay during an emergency, or ask family and friends if they can temporarily care for pets until the evacuation is over.
Ms Flint said while evacuation centres provided temporary accommodation during emergencies they often did not accommodate animals other than trained assistance dogs.
“If you are evacuating during a bushfire, you should try to take your pets with you on the first trip.
“You may have the best intentions of going back to get your pets on a second trip, only to find when you return that the roads have been closed because the area is unsafe.”
RSPCA WA executive manager community engagement Maree Daniels said losing animals in bushfires was devastating for families.
Ms Daniels said for most pet owners losing an animal was like losing a family member.
“That’s why it’s important to include pets in your preparations, to ensure that they too are safe during the chaos of a bushfire evacuation,’’ she said.
“We advise all pet owners to ensure their animals are microchipped and registered, and to make sure their contact details are up-to-date. “This makes it easier and quicker to reunite lost animals with their owners, if they have escaped or been left behind during a bushfire.’’
To prepare your bushfire survival plan visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/firechat