Where can I receive up-to-date information on a storm in my area?

You can follow active storms at the National Hurricane Center.

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What should I do to prepare for a hurricane?

Make a disaster plan for you, your family and your pets now. The HSUS offers tips on preparing a disaster kit, finding a safe place to evacuate with your pets and sheltering in place. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets.

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What should I do to prepare for flooding in my area?

If floodwaters threaten, make your preparations to leave before it’s too late—never drive through rising water. Turn around, don’t drown!

Make a disaster plan for you, your family and your pets (large and small) now. The Humane Society of the United States offers tips on preparing a disaster kit, finding a safe place to evacuate with your pets and sheltering in place. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets.

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What can the HSUS do to help?

We make every effort during times of crisis to respond to needs—but only through requests from official agencies for field response or from shelters in the path of the storm. Our trained and certified Animal Rescue Team can deploy with agencies in charge of animal response, provide disaster recovery grants post-disaster and plan and train prior to disasters.

During an active hurricane, the ART can provide support by making room and resources available through transporting out already adoptable animals from shelters, assisting in establishing emergency shelters and rescuing stranded animals.  

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My shelter can take animals. How can we help?

We encourage you to reach out to shelters to let them know you can help. If you are interested in becoming a Shelter and Rescue Partner for the HSUS in the future, please visit Shelter and Rescue Partners.

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I need help evacuating pets from my residence/shelter. Where do I start?

If you need assistance evacuating your residence/shelter, please contact your local Emergency Management Agency.

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I need help evacuating livestock. Where do I start?

The HSUS emphasizes the importance of making a disaster preparedness plan for all pets—horses and livestock included. Individuals looking for assistance with livestock should call the county in which they are located and ask if they have an emergency shelter or location for animals. It is also advisable to call local animal control to flag the property so it is on the radar of emergency officials for assistance and make sure all animals have access to fresh water. 

More resources:

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My horses are surrounded by water, should I swim them out?

Floodwater is dangerous to swim through with hidden obstacles beneath the water and unpredictable currents. Although horses and other livestock are able to swim, exhausted animals can drown. Do not attempt to swim them long distances through floodwaters. If high ground is nearby, provide them with fresh, clean water and notify emergency management of their location for rescue when the waters recede.

I see livestock in a field who may drown. Can you do anything to save them?

We each have a duty to ensure that all animals in our care do not suffer or become harmed in a storm. We urge everyone to make a disaster preparedness plan for all animals they are responsible for, whether they are pets, farm animals or other animals in their care. In order for the HSUS to assist during disasters, an official request must be made from the appropriate agency.

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I heard shelters may be euthanizing animals in the path of the storm. Can you do anything about that?

During times of disaster, many rumors and misleading information make their way onto the internet. Generally, shelters do not euthanize animals in advance to make space for disaster animals, as most shelters are committed to providing the best care and outcome for their animals.

The HSUS is committed to ending the euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets. Through our Shelter and Rescue Partner program, we work with organizations who need additional assistance and resources, whether through training, supporting transport efforts or meeting other needs. We encourage any organization with needs to reach out to their local emergency management officials to request assistance.

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I can drive to impacted areas. How can I help?

People who are part of the HSUS disaster response team will be emailed directly if their help is needed. Beyond those trained responders, it is imperative that no one goes to an area on their own or self-deploys. Although the desire to help is well meaning, even by loading your vehicle with supplies and heading into the area can cause additional congestion and interference with vital emergency services. Monetary donations for the local people and shelters impacted allow them to purchase exactly what they need. 

The HSUS won’t be able to use volunteers who haven’t gone through official training, instead using the network of trained volunteers in the impacted region on standby to help when called. If people who self-deploy become stranded due to lack of training, emergency response attention must then add them to the potentially long list of rescues and divert attention away from the existing priority rescue work. It is simply too dangerous and also may result in lost/stray animals not going through the official systems that ensure they can be reunited with their owners. If you are not a trained volunteer, but would like to become one, you can learn more about the requirements and fill out an application.

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I heard that a particular city or area needs help. Can you help?

In order for an out-of-state agency to assist in a federal disaster area, there has to be an official request from the appropriate agency or emergency official. Each state has protocols in place for how to make these requests during a disaster and if a group or agency is in need of help, we ask that they contact their local emergency officials, who—if assistance is needed—will get the request to us. These protocols are in place to ensure there is not chaos created by outside groups coming in unrequested and to ensure the assistance is sent to where it is needed most.

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How can I support the HSUS’s efforts to help animals impacted by hurricanes?

Your support is always needed, both so we can help during this emergency and so we can be there at a moment’s notice when future disasters strike. Please consider making a gift to the Emergency Animal Rescue Fund today.

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I have an animal or a friend or family member who needs rescue—what do I do?

If you need rescue or have friends, family or pets in an impacted area who are in need of rescue, call 9-1-1.

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I want to donate supplies for local animal shelters. What should I send?

The best thing for out-of-state folks to do is to donate money and supplies to impacted shelters and those that are taking in animals. Please check with those organizations before sending supplies to make sure what you want to send is actually needed and helpful; many shelters will have lists of their top needs on their websites.

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Are you going to place animals who someone left behind in better homes?

Our role in disaster responses is to help animals in need and to keep families together. If we participate in a rescue in which an animal is suffering because of intentional cruelty, we would refer that case to law enforcement for further investigation and potential legal action if warranted, but in the vast majority of cases, our role is to reunite families. We always encourage people to evacuate with their pets, but we recognize that bringing pets along is not always possible for a variety of reasons. It’s not our place to pass judgment in those situations and we do not have the authority to seize animals. Our job is to help animals and people recover from the trauma that they have suffered. The animals we transport out of state to our Shelter and Rescue Partners are animals who were up for adoption prior to the disaster or post-disaster after the official stray hold time has been completed to allow families to find and reunite with their pets.

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