Stay Put with Your Pet and Seal Off Your Space in a Chemical Emergency

In some chemical emergencies, you may need to stay put stay put with your pet and seal off your space (shelter-in-place) or leave the immediate area (evacuate) because it is too dangerous to stay.
If you have pets, you will need a plan to care for them during a chemical emergency.
Taking care of a pet in a chemical emergency is not as simple as caring for yourself or a loved one.

How do you stay put with your pet in a chemical emergency?

Listen to the radio, television, your mobile news app or check your cell phone for text alerts from the emergency alert service. Follow any instructions from your police, fire, or local officials. In general, for pets, you should do these following things.

If you are home:
  • Go inside and take any pets with you.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors.
  • Turn off the fans, air conditioner, and furnace. Close the fireplace damper.
  • Get your Ready to Go bag and your pet’s Ready to Go bag.
  • Take your pet’s medications. Take your phone and charging cables.
  • Go to your safe room, the room you can seal off from outside air, and shut the door. This room should have no or few windows, be as far away as possible from the outside, at the highest point in the building, and have a water source, if possible.
What should you do next?
  • If you have the supplies, put plastic sheeting on any windows and duct tape in place. Close vents and duct tape closed. Put duct tape around the door to the room to seal it off from outside air. If you have no plastic sheeting supplies, push towels, sheets, or clothing in the vents and under the door.
  • Remove any plants that might harm your pet.
  • Close off any small areas where small pets can hide or get stuck, such as under heavy furniture.
  • Turn on the radio or your mobile news app.
  • Use bottled water instead of sink water if you are able. Toilet tank water is okay to drink if you have no other water source and have run out of your water supply. Toilet bowl water is not.
What if you are not home?
  • In a chemical emergency, cars, trucks, or other vehicles may not be airtight enough to protect you.
  • Listen to the radio, your mobile news app, or check your phone for messages to find the nearest shelter and go there. Follow instructions from your police, fire, or other local officials.
  • Be aware some shelters, such as those of the American Red Cross, take only service animals.
  • Contact your buddy or trusted neighbor so they can take care of your pet until it is safe for you to return home.
How will you know when it is safe for you and your pet to leave your home?
  • You will receive the all clear from your police, fire or other local officials.
  • Follow instructions from your police, fire, or other local officials for what to do when you go outside to make sure you stay safe.