Are you and your Pyr ready for disaster?

Following recent weather-related disasters, the Great Pyrenees Club of America has formed the Disaster Preparedness Committee. Our mission is to provide helpful information enabling pet owners to prepare the family and family dog for the unforeseen disaster; to assist Great Pyrenees owners, should disaster strike, by providing necessary supplies, information, and assistance.

If you would like to volunteer in your area or donate funds, please contact Linda Whisenhunt, Committee Chair, at

If Disaster Strikes

Will You Evacuate? Where Will You Go?

What About Your Pyr?

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Hurricanes, severe storms, tornadoes, floods, as well as heavy snows, major fires, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions can all create severe situations. We could be driven from our homes, or left stranded in our homes without electricity, food or water for days or weeks. Non weather-related emergencies, such as environmental hazards and possible acts of terrorism should also be taken into consideration. If your area is affected, are you ready? What is your plan?

First Things First:

Purchase a weather alert radio and be aware of area warnings. Keep cell phones fully charged. Before loading up the car and heading to your local emergency shelter, find out what the rules are. Many shelters will now take dogs during evacuations, but is there a limit in size or number of dogs allowed? Those shelters may require that dogs be kept in crates, often in other areas of the facility, and in some shelters, pets will be in separate buildings all together. Is your Pyr ready? Do you have a crate? Is your dog crate trained? How will your dog react to these stressful circumstances? Is your pet microchipped? Many animals lost during disasters have been reunited with their families due to being chipped. Do not rely on dog tags! They can come off of the animal’s collar and get lost.

Who To Call:

Make a phone list of friends, relatives and neighbors to notify each other of circumstances and verify plans. In making your plans, consider that family members may be in different locations at the time of emergency.

What To Take:

Make a list of items for each family member to be kept in a backpack near the appropriate door. Keep each pack supplied with dry food and bottled water to last several days, dry clothing, necessary medications and any other supplies necessary for that family member. Include instructions in each pack. Designate a pack that will have important papers, radio, batteries, basic tools, first aid kit, fully charged cell phone and a copy of your evacuation plans.

What To Take For Your Pet:

Fit an appropriately-sized waist pack comfortably around the pet’s neck as a “collar pack” that contains collar and leash, medications, veterinary information and written identification including where you will be, phone and contact information in case you are separated from your pet. You might include a small amount of food and water. Remove excess belt material that may be hanging freely. Wearing the collar pack may take some getting used to. Beginning in short time increments, let your dog wear the pack, gradually increasing the time so your dog will be used to wearing the pack should the need arise. If your dog will be crated once at your destination, you might want to take along a clip or two so the pack can be clipped to the dog’s crate once settled and comfortable.

Where To Go:

Map a plan from each direction of your home, neighborhood and city in the event your most frequently traveled route is not accessible. List where you will go, the route you will take and share this plan with your phone list members. Consider the location of hospitals, emergency clinics, veterinary hospitals and emergency clinics, gas stations, restaurants and friends’ homes. Locate hotels that take dogs, and check with those that normally don’t. Some will change their policy during emergencies. Consider listing points of assistance at specific intervals from your home, such as every 5 or 10 miles.

In The Car:

Keep a backpack or container with nutrition bars, water, first aid kit, medications, radio, flashlight and batteries, basic tools, blanket, dry change of clothes and shoes, in case you are stranded. In case your pet is with you, include dry pet food, extra water, daily medications, written identification and contact information as well as veterinary information.

Have Multiple Plans:

Create several plans in the event your primary plan is not possible. Instruct family members what to do if the family is not together during an emergency. List several alternatives as to how your pets will be taken care of if family members are not able to get home for several hours or days. If you are not able to take your pet when evacuating, what plans will you make for their care?

What If You Are Not Evacuated:

You might not be evacuated, but you may still be without electricity, water and phone service. Roads to your area may not be accessible. Check your pantry. Stock dry foods and canned goods that can be eaten without heat or refrigeration, shelf-life milk, etc. Keep some items stored in a high area to remain dry should flooding occur. 3 gallons of bottled water per day per family member is the recommended amount of water to have on hand. Don’t forget food and water for the pets! Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. In the south, it is suggested that these items can last up to 3 days if kept cold, possibly longer in colder climates. Store home emergency items together: include medications, radio, flashlight and batteries, possibly a small, battery operated TV, battery operated fan(s), important papers, basic tools and any other essential items. Have tarps and roof fasteners, duct tape, hammer, nails and plywood sheets ready for temporary repairs. Keep cell phones charged, just in case. In your pet’s “collar pack” include identification, medications and veterinary information in case your pet gets lost. For multiple animals, consider locating a used horse trailer and generator where they can be kept cool or warm, depending on the season.

A note regarding generators: NEVER operate a generator in any enclosed area! Placing a generator in the garage with overhead door raised does not provide enough ventilation. Generators must remain outside, fully ventilated while operating.

Most Important – Make A Plan

Until a basic plan is made, there is no plan. Not having a plan leads to panic, confusion and frustration.


List phone chain members including friends, relatives and neighbors to notify of circumstances and verify plans.

1. ____________________________________ 5. ____________________________________

2. ____________________________________ 6. ____________________________________

3. ____________________________________ 7. ____________________________________

4. ____________________________________ 8. ____________________________________


List supplies for each family member’s backpack. Include instructions, dry foods, water, medications, important papers, radio, batteries, basic tools, first aid kit, cell phone and a copy of your evacuation plans.

PACK #1:

PACK #2:

PACK #3:

PACK #4:

For your pet’s “collar pack”, include collar and leash, medications, veterinary information, written identification including where you will be, phone and contact information in case you are separated from your pet. You might want to include a small amount of food and water in the pack, or take separately.




List area hospitals and emergency vet clinics, gas stations, hotels, restaurants, friends’ homes, etc. Consider listing points of assistance at specific intervals, such as every 5 or 10 miles from your home.







Gather and distribute informational brochures and local information to the public at club events, such as dog shows, fun matches, pet fairs, pet walks and rescue events.

Hold educational clinics at meetings and events, instructing how and what to prepare for family and pet safety and evacuation.

Name an Area Coordinator who can monitor a weather alert radio for warnings and be contacted for information and needed assistance.