A few weeks ago, my Mom and I updated our annual fire-evacuation plans. Living in a rural area, we know from experience that when the fire department knocks on the door, there may be only minutes to throw our highest-priority items in the car. I would encourage everyone-- especially those in wildfire areas-- to give a few minutes thought to an evacuation plan. Here are some ideas for fire-safety:

Rescue stickers

These should be posted on your front door and list the pets inside so that if you are not home, fire-fighters will know to evacuate them for you. Mark “EVACUATED” on the sticker if you self-evacuate. The ASPCA has a free basic sticker; include photos on custom stickers from Etsy; stickers are also available at pet stores.

Identifying tags

Keep a collar tagged with 2 phone numbers on your dog at all times. One number should be a cell phone or a friend/relative across town. Microchips need to be updated with your CURRENT contact info.


Have a crate on hand for each pet and take the time to crate-train your dog. In the event of evacuation, the dog may have to be in a crate through transport, in evacuation centers, or at family and friends'. It will be less traumatic if the dog is already comfortable spending time in a crate.

Food & Supplies

Pack a dog “ready-bag” with an extra collar or harness, leash, blanket, toys, water bowl, poop bags, disinfectant, brush, and paper towels. Include bottled water (in non-BPA containers) and a few days worth of the dog's usual food: if dry kibble, rotate stock every 2 months. My "ready-box" stays in the car at all times and has saved me on many occasions!


A general first-aid kit-- good to keep in your car all the time-- has most of the supplies you might need in a dog emergency. Make sure family members who may evacuate the pet know the location of necessary pet medications and medical records. Keep copies of your pet's medical and license info in the "ready-bag" or uploaded to online storage.

Recent photos of your pets

In the event your dog becomes separated from you in an emergency, photos are helpful for "Lost" ads and flyers. Uploading a CLEAR photo to a Facebook or Photobucket account will allow you quick access from any internet-connected computer.