Make emergency plans that consider your whole family

Include pet safety in emergency travel plans

Cat in Carrier.jpeg
Cat in Carrier

RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is encouraging residents to make sure they have plans in place that include all members of their family before disaster strikes.

While hurricane season is officially underway in Virginia, preparedness is not limited to a single day or month, and now is the time to plan ahead for emergencies. Consider who makes up your household, including older adults, children, those living with disabilities and pets, and ensure everyone is prepared for disasters.

Stay informed about weather events and have your car prepared for emergency evacuations. This includes having a full tank of gas, jumper cables, cell phone charger, and blanket. Develop emergency kits for your family by considering everyone’s individual needs.

Assess your needs and make a plan. Every family has different needs that affect what steps to take to prepare everyone for a disaster. Whether you care for pets, children, or someone with a medical condition or disability, it’s important to know what the family needs to travel safely in an emergency evacuation. Figure out where you would go and what to bring when a disaster strikes.

June is also National Pet Preparedness Month. Ahead of an emergency, consider microchipping your pets or having a collar with tags to help locate them if they go missing. Stay up to date on their vaccines.

When traveling during an emergency evacuation, pets should have their own emergency kit. Pets should be appropriately contained or harnessed during car rides and should not be in the front seat. Don’t leave pets alone in a parked vehicle.


Have the following items in a sturdy container ready to go ahead of a disaster:

  • Leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that they can’t escape
  • Food, drinking water, bowls, cat litter/pan and a can opener if your pet eats canned food
  • Medications and copies of medical records for each pet — which should also be digitized — stored in a waterproof container
  • Current photos of you with your pets in case they get lost to help eliminate mistaken identity and confusion
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you must foster or board your pets
  • Pet bed and toys

Prior to travel, view the latest road and traffic conditions on VDOT’s free 511 mobile app, at or by calling 511 from any phone in Virginia.

Follow trusted sources for information such as VDOT, Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), Virginia State Police, National Weather Service, and your local government.

Visit VDEM’s website at for more tips on how to be ready for when disaster strikes.

Last updated: July 11, 2024

Alert Icon

Please note that this file is not ADA compliant. Choose one of below options: