Get Ready Animals

Planning for animals in emergencies

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 start by making an Animal Emergency Plan

Emergency Information

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


Select an option

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.


Pets and Small Animals

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

First start by making your Animal Emergency Plan. It only takes 5 minutes!

Dog Lovers Show 2019

Here are some things to consider.....

Microchipping, Vaccination and Registration

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.

It is also important to 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.

Containing your animal – the importance of crates, carriers and cages

One of the biggest problems during emergencies is ensuring animals are safe. You may have to leave your home and go to family and friends, or to an Evacuation Centre, if it is open.

How will you contain and transport birds in aviaries, reptiles in specially heated enclosures, tropical fish in large tanks, not to mention dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits etc?

In most cases the answer is to use cages, crates, or portable carriers.

They are invaluable to contain and transport your animal to keep them safe. It also means other people can assist you. If you go to another location, such as to family or friends or an Evacuation Centre, the animals have their own space where they are safe.

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     

Getting your kit together – Prepare a Grab and Go Bag

You don’t always know how long you are going to be away from home during an emergency, so packing a Grab and Go Bag Its important to always prepare to be away for 3 - 7 days. In some emergencies it takes a long time for people to get back to their homes. For your animal ensure you have the following for up to a week of being away from yor 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 the 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 your Animal Emergency Plan

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

Horses and Livestock

Planning for horses and livestock

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

Here are some things to consider...

  • 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? 

These valuable resources will help you plan for horses and livestock in a range of emergencies.

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

Identifying your animals

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

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



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.

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

Here is some Emergency Advice from WIRES

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

These animals require specialist handling and MUST be rescued by trained wildlife rescuers. If you are unsure of the species please check the images and information via the link below.

 Emergency Advice 

All wildlife that is sick or injured needs to be assessed by a vet before coming into care.    

It is critical to get sick and injured wildlife vet treatment as quickly as possible.

Most vets will take wildlife free of charge. If you can, please call the vet to let them know you are coming. Not all vets handle all species of wildlife but they will help wherever possible. 

If you also let our Rescue Team know where you’ve taken the animal, WIRES will follow up directly with the vet, to bring the animal into care after it’s been vet assessed and received any vet care required. 

Improper rescue can hurt or distress the animal and the rescuer which is why WIRES train all its volunteers. Please exercise caution when handling wildlife.

When reporting rescues to WIRES and vets please confirm the EXACT location where the animal was found.  

Many young animals can possibly be reunited with their parents, if we know the exact location the animal was found.  Many native animals are also very territorial and it is critical that we release them where they were found, when they are ready to release, to ensure their best chance of survival. 

1) If you have found a sick, injured or orphaned animal, remove any threat to the animal.  

This includes keeping all people and pets away from the native animal, to minimise stress to the animal for vet transport or until a rescuer arrives.  

2) If it is safe to do so, please contain the animal in a warm, dark, quiet place.

For example, gently wrap the animal in a towel and place it in a ventilated box with a lid and transport it carefully to the nearest vet or wait for the rescuer to arrive.

3) Do not give the animal any food or water, unless instructed to by a vet or WIRES

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

Wildlife Information

You can also use the links below for extra information on common species:

WIRES Rescue Office operates 365 days a year. 

If you contact WIRES after hours we will call you back early the next morning. Overnight, if it is safe to do so, please follow the instructions above and take any sick or injured wildlife to your nearest 24 hour vet. 

Report a NSW Wildlife Rescue 

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.

Boarding, Training and Animal Holding Facilities

Emergency Information

For life threatening emergencies dial 000 (triple zero)

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

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 Department of Primary Industries (animals and agriculture)

NSW Local Land Services (support for landholders)

NSW Disaster Assistance (welfare assistance, evacuation centres)

NSW State Emergency Service (floods, storms, tsunami)  

NSW Rural Fire Service (bushfires)  

Fire + Rescue NSW

NSW Ambulance

NSW Police

NSW Health

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.

Build an Animal Ready Community

Build an Animal Ready Community

Animal Ready Communities (ARCs) are groups of people who have come together to promote emergency planning and preparedness.

They can be community based, or through breed clubs, sporting groups, associations or simply a group of people that want to look out for each other and their animals.

ARCs can 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:

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.

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

A simple Facebook post or email can start the ARC rolling.

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

Pre-arrange access to relocation facilities

Pre-arranging access with other locations or facilities out of the emergency impact area will allow the animals to be safely relocated early and cared for by ARC members. 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.

Keep your ARC active

Keeping your ARC afloat is important. Test that it works – don’t wait for an emergency to find the icebergs. Run a ‘fire or flood drill’, discuss the good and bad points and make any needed changes.

Keep communicating. Could be simple reminders the ARC is still active and to check details, encourage new members, tips to find information or events to build relationships. 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 encourage people to learn more about planning for animals in emergencies, and are freely available to download and use to assist community groups, schools, breed clubs, rescue groups, businesses etc or anyone who wants to help share the message.

The resources include emergency plans templates and guidelines, handouts, key messages, newsletter articles, social media tiles, children’s activities and community resilience building ideas.

Animal specific information is available from the Get Ready Animals landing page and in our Social Media Resources. 

Here are some pawsome 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 


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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