Traveling with ESAs & Pets During an Alabama Hurricane {Must Read}

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noaa hurricane hurricane michael heading towards alabamaAre you ready for an Alabama hurricane? Alabama is an awesome state to live in, with gorgeous natural spots like Cheaha Mountain, technological innovation at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight center and hidden architectural gems like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum house. Let’s just all remember that hit song we all know isn’t called ‘Sweet Home Idaho’, alright?

Unfortunately, all those wonderful things come with one caveat – hurricanes. As a state located on the Gulf, Alabama can be hit with devastating hurricanes throughout the hurricane season.

If you’re the owner of an emotional support animal or pet and have never weathered an intense Alabama hurricane you may wonder what to do if one strikes, and how to keep you and your treasured support animal safe.

In this article, we guide you through everything you need to know about traveling safely with your emotional support dog or cat when an Alabama hurricane hits.

Mandatory Evacuation Alabama: ESA Protocol for When You’re in an Evacuation Zone

The frequency and strength of hurricanes have increased at alarming rates in past years. If you live in an evacuation zone, you may be called on to leave your home if a major hurricane hits. Those who live on an island or near the coast are almost guaranteed to be faced with a mandatory evacuation if a strong Alabama hurricane makes landfall.

Others in the state should also be prepared, as hurricanes can be unpredictable and highly dangerous, especially for those who are unprepared. Those with an emotional support dog or cat have another layer of responsibility to prepare for in the face of a hurricane – their beautiful feline or canine helpers need to be involved in the plan!

The treacherous conditions of tropical hurricanes, including heavy rain, strong winds, and storm surges, mean your ESA is in big danger if left behind.

So what can you do to prepare yourself for a major hurricane if you’re an ESA owner living in Alabama?

First of all, ESA owners in Alabama should make sure that their home is protected by insurance, particularly flood insurance so that their ESA and themselves will not be left homeless by a strong hurricane.

It’s also a great idea to physically protect your home before a hurricane evacuation. You can strategically place sandbags to keep out water, have hurricane shutters installed or tape up windows. Another idea is to and pack valuables away up high to keep them away from flood waters.

Remember during a hurricane to track all the latest updates on the intensity and path of the storm, and stay well-informed of emergency management plans for a hurricane via internet, radio or television.

evacuation zone mandatory evacuation sign hurricane alabama

How to Get An ESA Letter To Make Traveling with Your Furkid Easier! 

With an ESA letter, traveling with your gorgeous pet during an Alabama hurricane is a smooth process. In the U.S., there are laws in place to protect your right to travel with your ESA.

Getting an Emotional Support Animal Before the Hurricane Strikes: CertaPet’s simple 5 min process

The steps to getting an ESA letter and making travel with your pet easy and stress-free during an Alabama hurricane are simple.

1. Undertake Certapet’s simple 5-minute pre-screening process.

2. After approval based on your answers, Certapet puts you in touch with a licensed mental health professional near you, who can assist in issuing your ESA documentation IF they believe you truly are in need of one.

3. Get your letter!

Certapet are here to help before, during and after a hurricane but it’s always good to be over prepared! Follow our simple steps now for peace of mind.

Know Your Rights! The 2 Vital Emotional Support Animal Laws

There are two essential federal laws that back up your right to having your pet with you at all times when fleeing an Alabama hurricane. These important laws are known as the Aircraft Carrier Access Act and the Fair Housing Act.

Aircraft Carrier Access Act (ACA)

This law allows those with a legitimate emotional support animal (in most cases only cats and dogs) to travel with them without incurring an extra fee.

Fair Housing Act (FHA)

The FHA protects people from being discriminated against and being refused reasonable accommodation on the grounds that they have an ESA.

The Benefits of Having an Emotional Support Animal with You During Scary Times

Having an emotional support animal with you during the scary experience of facing a hurricane can be invaluable. In a high-stress situation, they can provide a calming and grounding presence.

The Calming Comfort of an ESA

An ESA can assist in a number of ways:

  • Soothing their owner with their presence.
  • Giving their owner a focus point in a stressful situation.
  • Ensuring their owner looks after themselves in order to look after their in car ready for hurricane season alabama


Hurricane Season Alabama: Know Your Hurricane Categories!

Category 1 

Very dangerous winds will produce some damage.

High winds of between 74 – 95 mph. Power outages may occur. This is the lowest category. Hurricane Isaac which hit Louisiana in 2012, for example, was a Category 1 hurricane.

Category 2

Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage.

There can be near total power outages that can last anywhere from days to weeks in this category. Expect between 96 – 110 mph winds. Hurricane Frances, that hit Florida in 2004 was a category 2 hurricane.

Category 3

Devastating damage will occur.

Winds of between 111 – 129 mph. The most infamous category 3 Louisiana hurricane to make landfall was Hurricane Katrina. The thing that caused the immense scale of damage in the case of Katrina was the huge storm surge and flood water that the hurricane brought with it, which was able to breach protective levees.

Category 4 

Catastrophic damage will occur.

Category 4 hurricanes can record strong winds of up to an incredible 130 – 156 mph. Hurricane Michael in October of 2018 was Category 4 when it made landfall in the Florida panhandle, causing massive damage to houses and industry.

Category 5 

Catastrophic damage will occur.

Storms with a wind speed of 157 mph or higher are classified as category 5 hurricanes. The strongest form of a hurricane, a category five can cause unbelievable damage. Power is often out for weeks or months at a time after such a hurricane.

Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in 2017, was a category 5 hurricane which did major damage to many countries and also the U.S. Hurricane Katrina which hit Alabama, and Louisiana especially hard, was later classified as Category 5.

Storms 101: Tropical Storms, Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones!

You may have heard these names used to describe storms and been scratching your head trying to work out the difference between them. They are different names for the same thing. In Taiwan, for example, you would call it a typhoon, but in the U.S., “hurricane” is the correct term.

Be Prepared! NHC and NOAA: Hurricane Tracking Made Easy!

To make staying safe in a hurricane easier, the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service (run by NOAA) do excellent work in keeping Americans informed.

Both sites have detailed up-to-the-minute information, on all hurricane activity in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

When is Hurricane Season in Alabama?

The official hurricane season is between June and November. Historically, the majority of hurricanes have hit Alabama in September.

4 of the Worst Hurricanes that Hit the U.S. in Recent Years!

The U.S. is hit with a number of hurricanes each year, and there are some devastating storms etched in the consciousness of those who experienced them.

Hurricane Florence Alabama

Hurricane Florence, that crashed into North and South Carolina in September this year and brought a huge amount of damage in the form of flooding. Originally a category 4 storm, Florence changed to a category 1 as it hit the coast.

Hurricane Irma Alabama

In September 2017, Hurricane Irma hit Alabama causing destruction. The category 5 hurricane caused huge damage, cut power to over 25,000 homes and forced schools to close for days.

Hurricane Maria Alabama

Hurricane Maria was notoriously the most intense hurricane of 2017. The category 5 hurricane left a wake of destruction in its path through the Caribbean and caused some damage to South Carolina.

Hurricane Harvey Alabama 

Hurricane Harvey struck in 2017 and is currently tied with Hurricane Katrina as the costliest hurricane on record in the U.S. Harvey smashed into the Caribbean, Suriname, and Guyana, before plowing through Texas and Louisiana.

emotional support dog sad for alabama evacuation hurricane

Have Your Dog Emergency Kit Ready for When Those Gulf Winds Pick Up!

Residents that live in known evacuation zones of Alabama, or even those living anywhere in the gulf state of Alabama should always be ready for an emergency situation.

A wonderful way to ensure your pet is safe is to have a cat or dog emergency kit ready to go in the case of a hurricane warning.

With an emergency kit on hand, you can be secure in the knowledge that you can leave your house rapidly if an emergency situation arises.

12 Things to Have in Your Pet’s Kit

A comprehensive pet kit for a hurricane should include:

  • Vet records
  • Ownership records
  • Recent photos of your pet
  • Microchip information
  • Two week supply of food and clean water
  • Any medications they may need
  • Flea and Heartworm medicine (One month supply)
  • Lead and collar with ID tag
  • Bed and blanket
  • Pet carrier
  • Pet First Aid Book
  • CBD Oil or CBD dog treats to help keep Fido calm!
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Make Sure Your Pets Have Clear Identification!

We can’t stress this enough: make sure your ESA or pet has clear identification!

Make sure the ID has a current contact number and the address you will be staying at. Micro chipping is the most permanent and fail-safe method for ensuring you and your pup pal don’t lose each other for good.

Stay Safe and Do NOT Leave Your Pet/ESA Behind!

Your own safety is your number one priority in a dangerous Alabama hurricane situation – but remember – NEVER leave your pet or ESA behind to fend for themselves. There is an extreme likelihood that your pet will not survive alone in the aftermath of a hurricane!

emotional support animal left behind during alabama hurricane season

Traveling with ESAs During an Alabama Hurricane: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your State Today

Certapet can help you connect with a licensed mental health professional if you qualify from our free, confidential, 5-min pre-screening, so your ESA can evacuate with you if an Alabama hurricane emergency arises.

No matter what area of Alabama you live in, hurricane preparedness emergency can mean the difference between life and death. With a few smart moves, you can be sure to keep yourself and your ESA hurricane safe for many happy years in each other’s company.

Common Questions About Traveling with ESAs During an Alabama Hurricane

What should I bring for my dog in a hurricane?

Can I stay with my emotional support animal during a hurricane?

How do I prepare my ESA for a hurricane?

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