When it comes to natural disasters, we Marylanders are pretty lucky.

But let’s not forget the new anxieties brought on by the ever-present risk of terrorist incidents.

If disaster strikes and you have to leave home, take your pets with you, even if you think you may only be gone for a few hours. There’s really no way to tell how soon you’ll return, and pets can’t survive for long on their own.

  • Better to leave early.
  • Be ready. Make sure there’s a current ID tag on your dog or cat’s collar or preferably have your pet microchipped. Prepare an emergency pet-survival kit in advance, preferably packed in a watertight tote or container, so you can leave at a moment’s notice.
  • Here’s what you’ll need:
    an appropriate leash, harness, pet carrier, or cage (depending on the type of animal); a week’s worth of food and water, and a bowl; any medications your pet takes, along with medical records; litter and a litter pan for cats; current photos of your pets in case they get lost; and your veterinarian’s name and phone number.
  • Know where you’re going. Most emergency shelters cannot accept pets because of health regulations. Put important phone numbers in your emergency kit.
  • Find out if there are hotels and motels outside your immediate area which allow pets. Ask others if they’re willing to waive no-pet policies in an emergency.
  • Birds, small mammals and reptiles should be transported in their cages or secure carriers. Take whatever food, bowls and supplies you need.
  • In case you aren’t home when evacuation orders are issued, see if a trusted neighbor would be willing to get your pets and meet you at a prearranged location.

To find out more, go to the Humane Society of the United States website at www.hsus.org, where you can download their brochures on disaster preparedness.

Or you can write for information to HSUS, 2100 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20037 (include a business-size self-addressed stamped envelope).