With summer well underway, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and RSPCA WA are urging Western Australians to include pets in their bushfire survival plans.
DFES Director Community Preparedness Suellen Flint said more than sixty 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.” Ms Flint said.
DFES and RSPCA WA recommend community members talk to their local government regarding where their pets can stay during an emergency, or ask family and friends if they can temporarily care for pets until the evacuation is over.
“While evacuation centres provide temporary accommodation during emergencies, they often do not accommodate animals other than trained assistance dogs,” Ms Flint said.
“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.”
Executive Manager Community Engagement at RSPCA WA Maree Daniels said losing animals in bushfires is devastating for families.
“For most pet owners, losing an animal is 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,” Ms Daniels 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,” Ms Daniels added.
DFES and RSPCA have developed this video which outlines the steps to consider when evacuating with your pets.
To prepare your bushfire survival plan visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/firechat