Amid the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, the Humane Society of the United States is urging communities and individuals—including those in regions historically considered ‘safe’—to create preparedness plans that include their animals.

“From intensifying storms to devastating wildfires, our changing climate is having immense impacts on humans and animals around the world,” said Diane Robinson, disaster services program manager for the Humane Society of the United States. “We must work both on a community and individual level to mitigate the devastating impact of these disasters before they happen. On an individual level, no matter where we live, we all need to create preparedness and evacuation plans that include our pets and any other animals we are responsible for. And the HSUS will continue to work with government agencies to include animals in their disaster planning.”

In addition to providing certified search and rescue assistance with a swift water-trained team in the aftermath of hurricanes and other disasters, the HSUS works with agencies in communities throughout the country to incorporate animals into their disaster preparedness planning, provide training on developing protocols, and educate the public on how to keep animals safe.

Last week, the Humane Society of the United States deployed to Tennessee in response to catastrophic flooding. Responders provided supplies and assisted Waverly Animal Shelter volunteers as the organization faces an influx of intakes of displaced animals.

“We are honored to support Waverly Animal Shelter by augmenting their hardworking team as they begin to recover from catastrophic flooding,” said Robinson. “Public service workers are just as likely as the rest of the community to have their lives upended in the very disaster they are helping their community navigate. We can all do our part in mitigating the burden on emergency services by being prepared.”

The Animal Rescue and Response team is standing by and ready to assist in the wake of Hurricane Ida—which battered Louisiana over the weekend—in the event an official request for assistance is received.

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