Disaster Preparedness

The last decade has shed light on the ever-increasing need for disaster planning, for our families and our pets. Now, there are so many resources for helping citizens of Arlington County prepare for potential emergencies.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington and Arlington County’s Office of Emergency Management have included pets in their disaster plans with a 20-foot long trailer, stocked with everything needed to set up a temporary pet-friendly shelter in the event of an emergency, including animal crates, food and water dishes, litter pans, identification bands, pet food, and cleaning supplies.

“After hurricane Katrina it became clear to everyone that the residents of Arlington County needed a place to shelter their pets in the event of a disaster. The League learned about the trailer idea at a national conference on disaster planning held by the Humane Society of the United States and decided it was just what the County needed,” said Kay Speerstra, former Executive Director of the League. “Over 60% of American households have at least one pet, so it’s important to have a plan that includes them,” added Speerstra.

In the event of an emergency, the Office of Emergency Management will call upon the League to set up a temporary shelter at a selected location. The League will tow the trailer to the chosen site and League staff and volunteers will set up and operate the shelter. Residents who need to evacuate will not have to leave their pets behind.

For more information on disaster planning please visit:

Arlington County’s Emergency Guide

Disaster Preparedness for Pets

Creating a Personal Response Plan