Every year, from late summer into fall, many San Diego HRS volunteers and supporters are affected by wildfires. Some may have to evacuate with their own rabbits or foster rabbits, and some have to remove rabbits from shelters or pet store adoption programs.
The key to getting through wildfire season unscathed is being prepared. Follow these tips to help maximize your safety:
- Make plans ahead of time with friends or family to evacuate to their home, with a back up plan if you can’t get through to the first location. Discuss in advance how the rabbits will be housed. If you don’t have a place you can go, check out evacuation centers schools, sports stadiums, fair grounds, etc. that will commonly house evacuees and their pets.
- Purchase and have close at hand, not buried somewhere in the garage, a carrier for every rabbit or bunny pair. The best type is the hard-sided plastic carrier that will be sturdy enough to contain them for some time if needed. If you must evacuate on short notice, use these alternatives: laundry basket with a towel in the bottom, empty box, a gym bag or backpack, plastic storage tote, or as a last resort, a pillow case from your bed.
- Keep frozen water bottles in the freezer so you can tuck one into your bunny’s carrier to keep him cool. Extras can go into a cooler with a small supply of veggies if you have them.
- During fire season keep extra pelleted food and drinking water on hand. Keep a box stored in your car loaded with bunny’s usual pelleted food and some bottled water in case you have to leave quickly.
- Once evacuated, set up impromptu housing:
- Place a large towel on the floor of the tub, then bunny’s litter box and a plastic bowl for water. Pull the curtain closed or slide the glass door closed. To keep air flowing, if needed, turn on the overhead vent. Or, put bunny and her litter box in the floor of the stall shower (this works when traveling; it keeps litter box mess contained).
- Take bunny’s x-pen if you have room and can fit in your car. Set up in kitchen or other area with a spot just out of traffic. You can double over pen walls to make it smaller and take up less room.
- Set up bun in the laundry room, taking care to block off the entrance to the back of the washer & dryer (unplug them while bun is in the room).
- Move some clothes out of a closet and set up bun on the floor, putting a bathroom rug or other washable item down to protect the floor. A coat closet or linen closet might also work well. Block off the front with a baby gate or an x-pen folded over onto itself.