Get Ready Animals

Make a plan for your animals today

Emergencies can occur suddenly and planning for your pets and animals keeps everyone safe.

The resources on this site have been prepared in collaboration with a range of organisations to help you, your group, association, breed club, business and local community to be prepared for emergencies. Please use and share this information freely.

Let's Get Ready and Make an Animal Emergency Plan

Emergency Information

  • In a life threatening emergency dial 000 (triple zero) immediately


Floods: Animal Ready – Helen’s Story

Floods: Animal Ready – Planning for Horses

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Make an Animal Emergency Plan

Animals are important and precious parts of our family and they rely on us to keep them safe.

Making an Animal Emergency Plan doesn’t take long, and means you are prepared for any emergency that may affect your home, family and animals.

Understand your risk and make a plan

If you live near bushland, a river or creek, on a floodplain or close to the coast, sooner or later you may be impacted by a natural disaster. Both the NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES)  and NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) both have emergency planning tools available on their websites.   

Get Ready NSW is the NSW Office Of Emergency Management’s website and it has a wealth of resources for individuals, community organisations, businesses and Councils to help plan for emergencies.

Here is an excellent video from the South Australian RSPCA, which shows how to plan for your pets and horses....

Know where to go if you need to evacuate

If you need to evacuate, always take your animals with you. Planning to go and stay with family or friends is often the most comfortable and convenient option.

Evacuation Centres may be opened and you can take your animals along with you, where you can look after them there. During an emergency check the NSW Disaster Assistance   and  NSW Department of Primary Industries  sites for information about evacuation centres and areas where you can take large animals and livestock.

If you have large animals like horses and livestock, you should relocate them early to a safer area. Planning ahead with other landholders can make this process easier and quicker

It’s also important to register with the Red Cross’ service called Register.Find.Reunite. This service registers, finds and reunites family, friends and loved ones after an emergency.


Stay informed

Listen to ABC and local radio stations, visit emergency service websites, Facebook sites and apps for information on to stay updated. You can search for your local ABC radio and tv stations by putting in your suburb at . Check out the Emergency Information section here

The Bureau of Meteorology  provides continual updates on weather forecasts and current weather warnings. It includes information about severe weather and storms, plus fire, flood and other climate information.

During an emergency, evacuation routes may be cut, so make sure you have planned ahead and identified several different options. Live Traffic  is a great site that gives up to date traffic information and is also available as an app for your phone. More detailed information on local road closures may be available on Council websites.


Make a plan for Pets and Small Animals

Preparing for your pets and small animals can be done well ahead of an emergency.

First start by Making an Animal Emergency Plan. It only takes 5 minutes!

Here are some things to consider.....

Ensure your Dogs and Cats are Microchipped, Vaccinated and Registered

Having animals microchipped and registered means that if you are separated from your pet, there is a much greater chance that you will be reunited. If you’re not sure if you’re animal has been microchipped, you can easily check with your vet who can use a small microchip scanner.

Register your dog or cat through the NSW Pet Registry . This is a database of microchipped and registered cats and dogs that live in NSW. Dog and cat owners can easily create an online profile to help ensure they are reunited with their pet if it becomes lost.

The Registry allows you to update your contact details, report your pet missing, change the ownership of pets, and pay the lifetime registration fee. Breeders are also encouraged to have an online profile. A Breeder ID number will be generated which can be used to easily register litters and transfer the animals to their new owners.

Ensure you keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date and have a copy of them with you either captured on your phone, or a printed copy in your emergency kit.

Click on the link for more detailed information about Microchipping and Registration including penalties for non-compliance.

What containers do you own to transport your animals?

Cages, crates, or portable pet carriers are invaluable to contain and transport your animal to keep them safe. 

If you relocate, such as to family or friends or an Evacuation Centre, your animals have their own space where they are safe. 

It also means other people can assist you with moving them.

Birds in aviaries, reptiles in specially heated enclosures, tropical fish in large tanks, may need special consideration.


REMEMBER to always secure your animals first, so they are nearby when you are ready to leave. Animals can sense the environment around them, including your stress, and you don’t want them to hide or run away while you are getting ready.

Crates, carriers and cages keep pets safe in emergencies     

What to pack in your Animal's Grab and Go Bag

Pack a Grab and Go Bag for your animals in case you have to spend up to a week away from your home.

Your 'Grab and Go Bag' should include:

  • 7 day supply of food (including instructions on feeding)
  • A secure crate or pet carrier
  • An extra collar, leash and ID tag
  • A picture of you with your pet
  • Any medicines, tablets or creams (with instructions)
  • Bowls for eating and drinking (plus can opener and spoon)
  • Treats!
  • A first-aid kit with bandage, tape, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention etc
  • Favourite toys
  • Litter trays and waste bags for clean-up
  • Towels and/or a blanket and bedding
  • Paper towels and disinfectant (puppy pads are a good idea too)
  • Relevant vaccination and veterinary records, plus emergency vet contact information


What’s your plan if you’re not at home?

Emergencies don’t always occur when you’re at home. So you need to make a plan with family, friends, or neighbours, as to what you need them to do if you aren’t able to get home. It may be you need to leave them with a key to access your home or yard and tell them where your animal’s Grab and Go Bag is. Discuss this as part of Making your Animal Emergency Plan

What to do if you have to leave your pet behind 

Animals are our responsibility and should not be abandoned unless it is absolutely impossible to evacuate them. To avoid this situation, consider evacuating your pets before the danger arises. If you are forced to leave your pets behind, be sure to follow the advice from the RSPCA here

Planning for Horses and Livestock

Planning for horses and livestock

Large animals and large numbers of animals require special consideration when it comes to emergency planning.

5 important questions to help build a safe plan for your livestock

  • Will you relocate your animals on your property?
  • Do you know how can you prepare them and your property, to make them safer?
  • Will you move animals off site and where will you take them? Have you pre-arranged this with another landowner?
  • Do you have suitable transport to move them and have you worked out long it will take? Will you need to make several trips? Will you need others to help you?
  • Are you animals easily identifiable through microchips, tags, branding, or other identification methods? 

Here are 3 simple steps to prepare your animals for an emergency:

1. Start with a PIC (Property Identification Code)

If you have livestock you are required by law to have a PIC for the properties where your livestock reside. All livestock business, such as saleyards, abattoirs and showgrounds, must also have a PIC. Horse owners running horses on their own property and owners of properties where horses are agisted also need a PIC.

A PIC is a unique number assigned by Local Land Services to properties with livestock. This property registration system allows for the tracing of livestock to assist with emergency management, disease and chemical residue management. For more information about obtaining a PIC go to the NSW Local Land Services website here

2. Ensure your animals can be easily identified

Its critical to have identification on your animals before an emergency occurs. What identification types you use may also vary on the emergency circumstances the animals are in and whether they have been relocated to an unimpacted area, or whether they are remaining onsite. 
With horses, the following identification can be used:

  • Neck band with name and phone number
  • Microchip
  • Halter tag
  • Luggage tag braided into the mane or tail
  • Clipper-shaved information in the animal’s hair
  • Livestock marker or spray paint
  • Permanent marker on hoof wall
  • Take a photo of your horse

With cattle you can use:

  • Ear tags, tail tags or leg bands
  • Neck chains with ID
  • Ear notches
  • Microchips or brands
  • Livestock marker or spray paint

3. Make up a portable Emergency Kit

Most horse owners know how valuable it is to have an emergency kit! The following items should be included:

  • wire cutters
  • sharp knife
  • waterproof torch
  • container for water
  • drinking water
  • feed including chaff or hay
  • extra lead rope and halter (leather is safer during a fire)
  • woollen blankets
  • clean towels
  • copy of ownership papers
  • copy of pedigree / membership / insurance papers
  • roll cotton
  • self-adhesive bandage (vetrap)
  • gauze pads (assorted sizes)
  • sterile wound dressing
  • tweezers
  • adhesive cloth tape
  • duct tape
  • leg wraps (pillow wraps and stable bandages)
  • blindfolds
  • scissors
  • rectal thermometer
  • surgical scrub and antiseptic solution
  • wound ointment
  • antiseptic spray
  • syringes
  • non latex gloves
  • pliers or nippers (to pull nails)
  • eye wash
  • temporary fencing and hammer (star pickets and bunting, or electric fence)

This information comes from the Prepare your horse for bushfire  guide produced by the NSW Rural Fire Service


How to care for Wildlife in an Emergency

Native wildlife can be severely affected during natural disasters. They can suffer injuries, be affected by dehydration, smoke inhalation, flood inundation and experience habitat loss impacting on food, water and safety. Young dependent animals can be left orphaned.


These areas are extremely dangerous and your life and the lives of emergency responders can be put at risk. In addition, some animals are venomous, dangerous, or may be carrying diseases that are life threatening to humans. 

DO NOT approach snakes, goannas, bats (flying foxes or micro-bats, large macropods (kangaroos or wallabies) or raptors (eagles, falcons or hawks).

Even after the threat has passed there are hazards that can affect your safety.

Specially trained personnel from Government agencies, and wildlife response groups enter the impact zones to check on surviving wildlife. They have the correct protective clothing and the required training to be safe.

If you find wildlife impacted during emergencies, please contact:

  • Nationwide: Wildlife Rescue Inc at 1300 596 457 (24/7 number)
  • NSW: WIRES (Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service) at on 1300 094 737
  • Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife Services at on 02 9413 4300
  • To find an Australian wildlife rescue volunteer near you, visit the Australian Fauna Care Network at

WIRES Rescue Office operates 365 days a year. Report a NSW Wildlife Rescue 

All wildlife that is sick or injured needs to be assessed by a vet before coming into care, click here for WIRES Emergency Advice 

For more information on specific species, please visit the WIRES Wildlife Information Page 

Please remember, it is against the law to keep native animals taken from the wild. They must be passed on to an authorised carer with a licensed wildlife rescue organisation.

Planning for Boarding, Training and Animal Holding Facilities

Planning for emergencies

Animal holding facilities such as boarding, training, day care and breeding facilities can be particularly vulnerable during emergencies. They often have large number of animals in their care and are located in rural or bush settings.

Having a plan, and practicing it regularly, is critical to ensure the animals in the care of these facilities are safe in a range of emergency situations.

The Planning for Emergencies - A Guide for Animal Holding Establishments - NSW DPI  and Planning for Summer Emergencies - a best practice guide for Animal Holding Facilities - Hanrob and PIAA  are both comprehensive guides that can assist with planning.

Some factors to consider when making your plan:

  • Do I understand the threats to my facility, and have I weighed up the risks of staying to protect it versus evacuating?
  • Is my facility suitably designed and resourced to be successfully protected/defended?
  • Have I trained my staff effectively and provided them with any necessary equipment and protective clothing?
  • What will be the triggers to evacuate, and what is the process for notifications to staff, animal owners, emergency services etc?
  • Do I have the capacity to contain and transport all animals off site? How many trips will I need to make?
  • Have I determined where I will go and has this been pre-arranged? Will they accept all the animals?
  • What will I take for the animals?
  • Do I know my safe evacuation routes and options if they are cut?
  • Have I exercised this plan to see if it will work when I need it to? How long did it take to safely evacuate?

Important contacts during an Emergency

For life threatening emergencies dial 000 (triple zero)

Emergency Services and Functional Areas Contacts

During emergencies, the emergency services and functional area agencies utilise various channels to update information. These include websites, social media (Facebook and Twitter) and various aps through the following links:

NSW Police

NSW Ambulance

Fire + Rescue NSW

NSW State Emergency Service (floods, storms, tsunami)  

NSW Rural Fire Service (bushfires)  

NSW Health

NSW Disaster Assistance (welfare assistance, evacuation centres)

NSW Department of Primary Industries (animals and agriculture)

NSW Local Land Services (support for landholders)

Animal Information

Keeping animals cool in the heat - RSPCA

Australian Veterinary Association - Animals and Natural Disasters

RSPCA Pet Reunite Facebook

Lost and Found Animals - RSPCA NSW

Lost and Found Pets - NSW Pet Registry

Disasters and Alerts - RSPCA NSW

Community Domestic Violence Program - RSPCA NSW

Pets and Your Will - NSW Trustee and Guardian

Who should I contact about Injured Wildlife - RSPCA

News Updates

ABC News is the national emergency broadcaster and has a role in sharing information and warnings during emergencies. You can search for your local ABC radio and tv stations by putting in your suburb at

Local radio and television stations, social media and Council websites can also provide updates.

Weather Information and Updates

The Bureau of Meteorology  is the place to keep updated on weather forecasts and current weather warnings. It includes information about severe weather and storms, plus fire and flood information.

Road Information and Updates

For roads information, go to Live Traffic NSW. More detailed local road closures are generally available on local Council websites.

How to Build an Animal Ready Community

How to Build an Animal Ready Community

Once you've made your own Animal Emergency Plan, you may want to help others to plan and prepare for their animals.

Animal Ready Communities (ARCs) are groups of people who have come together to promote emergency planning and preparedness, and can be community based, or through breed clubs, sporting groups, associations etc.

ARCs identify people, resources and safe locations ahead of time, develop and exercise local plans, and help their community be better prepared. They work with local emergency services, agencies and Councils to build resilience and become valuable assets before, during and after emergencies.

After the 2013 Blue Mountains bushfires, which saw a huge loss of pets and animals, a group of passionate, community-minded people banded together to build the first ARC, known as Blue ARC.

The resources available here on the Get Ready Animals website are freely available to download and share to help you raise awareness and prepare your ARC.

Here are a few tips:

1. Identify community members who can help build and maintain your ARC database

ARC information can be captured in a database using an excel spreadsheet, or online collaborative means such as Airtable. Information should be easily accessible by ARC members in an emergency. Personal information should always be secured and permission by the provider given.

2. Identify your ARC audience and send out communications seeking interest to join

We are building an ARC (Animal Ready Community) to support each other during emergencies. This support may be in the form of sharing resources, borrowing equipment, helping with transport, etc. To learn more and join our database, please contact:  <insert name and contact details>

You may also want to include the information you are seeking, such as:

  • Name and Contact Details
  • Locality/Suburb
  • Transport available eg. dog trailer, horse float, truck, car, van etc
  • Equipment available eg. crates, carriers, cages, feed, fodder etc
  • Emergency accommodation and boarding assistance
  • Other ways to help

3. Pre-arrange access to relocation facilities

Capture 24/7 contact details and access arrangements as part of your ARC plan.

Promote your ARC and encourage other animal-based groups to build their own ARC. Having ARCs in different locations strengthens the support able to be provided during emergencies.

4. Keep your ARC active by communicating regularly, doing a dry run or drill 

For more information check out the links and visit our section on Educational Resources for additional resources.


Blue ARC videos 

During the NSW Bushfire Emergency in late 2019 and early 2020, Blue Arc  partnered with veterinarians to produce a series of videos to assist people in the following:

Educational Resources

Help others plan for their animals in emergencies

These resources have been developed to help community groups, schools, breed clubs, rescue groups, and businesses plan for animals in emergencies.

Resources include emergency plans templates and guidelines, handouts, newsletter articles, social media tiles, children’s activities and community resilience fact sheets

Here are some ideas to help encourage others to prepare:

  • Slot our Animal Emergency Plan on a Page into your newsletter or magazine, or link to it through your social media accounts. It is also available to print out in DL size here
  • Print out the Animal Emergency Grab and Go Bag Poster and put it on display at your veterinary practice, in your grooming salon, pet shop, doggy daycare facility etc
  • How about clicking on this link and Planning an Animals in Emergencies Display for your school, fete, club or association
  • If you're a primary school teacher, you can use the excellent Are You Ready Pet Passport for Kids to help your class think about how they can prepare their pets and animals for emergencies
  • Go to our Social Media Resources to Share section on the landing page, and choose some of the tiles to have your own social media campaign 

Short Videos 

These videos have been developed by a variety of organisations:


This page is still under construction with more resources coming soon!

Social Media Resources to Share

If you have any comments or feedback on this site, please use our contact form.

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