California Potbellied Pig Association, Inc

Natural Disasters


by Marcie & Chris Christensen

Most of this article is a repeat of our information in "Are You Prepared for an Emergency?"  It does lack the medical information and adds some tips for you and your animal's survival.

What is a "Natural Disaster"?  Most commonly, it would be one caused by nature, but man in his infinite wisdom has managed to become dangerous enough to create these on his own.

Under natural we have fire, flood (tsunami), wind (hurricanes, tornadoes, monsoons) and earth (earthquakes, volanos, land slides), but for man we better add chemical releases (including radioactive releases), explosions, war, terrorism, etc.

Some of these disasters may come with some warning and some may not.  What they all share in common is that most probably your local disaster workers (police, fire, medical) will probably be at least temporarily overwhelmed, and you will be to some extent "on your own" possibly for weeks.

Something to keep in mind is that if you have some warning as with wild fires and often flooding, don't wait until the last minute to gather and restrain your animals.  Even the tamest animal will probably act quite different when heat, smoke and roaring flames are bearing down on them.  They better already be in the horse trailers, animals crates and vehicles, and you should have already been gone before the danger arrives.  A foot of water in your yard may not be a problem for you, but your potbellied pig will find it quite upsetting.

After Hurricane Katrina, when many people chose to stay with their pets rather than evacuate to safety, the "Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006" became law.  It requires that the State and local emergency preparedness authorities include how they will accommodate households with pets or service animals when presenting their emergency plans to the FEMA.  The problem is that no funds were included for training, acquisition of equipment or areas to house these rescued animals. 

The result is that they can't NOT rescue your animals with you, but they may not be equipped or trained to do so.

If the disaster calls for an evacuation,


If on a calm sunny day your pig will slowly walk up a ramp into your vehicle, don't wait till the flames arrive or the water is rising to load the pig in the vehicle.  Load up and leave at the first warning.  Animals don't understand flames and rising water.  With an evacuation, probably both you and your potbellied pig will be more comfortable if the pig is in a crate.  If you later have to change transportation or you arrive at a rescue area, where there may be dogs and other animals or no fenced area, a crate will make everyone more comfortable.

In the event of an earthquake, do you have a fenced area or the ability to create a fenced area in your yard where you can contain your pets if your home is uninhabitable.


for your animals (and you), or do you wait until you run out to buy another bag of pig feed.

We have a truck with a camper on it that is high enough and big enough for a few "Giant" ("700") animal crates.  Transportation is the first thing you need to think about.  Do you have a vehicle big enough to carry your pig?  Do you have the ability to load the pig into this vehicle on your own? 

We purchased a hydraulic table from Harbor Freight (, search Hydraulic Table) which helps us to load our pigs into our truck.  If you have a crate just make sure BEFORE an emergency that your pig will fit in it and that the crate will fit in your vehicle.  These crates can be purchased at any pet/feed store and most on line animal stores.  We purchased plastic sorting boards (flat 2' by 3' boards with handles used to guide and direct pigs) from QC Supply (, #50019 called Sow Mate Sorting Panels) to help us move the pigs and get them into the crates easier.  We also have several animal exercise pens.  We use these to circle a pig when the sorting boards don’t work.  Then we can move the pig to where we want the pig to go while the exercise pen is around them.  We will place a crate at the opening and slowly fold up the exercise pen so the pig has nowhere to go but into the crate.   You can find exercise pens at most pet/feed stores too.  But to see what I am referring to go to, Search Exercise Pens. 

See also "Transporting Your Pig" on this web site.

We also have a small camper trailer in our side yard full of emergencies supplies, including pet food.  We have the capacity to live in it or haul it full of our pets to safety if needed, but we realize that in the most likely emergency we will face, an earthquake, our truck and camper will probably be useless, as roads will probably not be passable, but at least we have our food and supplies and some protection from the elements.

Do you have the equipment you'll need?  In a natural disaster, you probably won't be able to take the time to buy or borrow what you need.

Check out our "Care-Products" section

Realize that any steps you take to be better prepared for emergencies with your pets and even your family, make it much easier if an emergency occurs.

You may also be interested in learning more about how you can help in your area during an emergency.  If your area has a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) or a DART (Disaster Animal Response Team), you could look into their training.  They are always looking for interested volunteers.  The upside is you will meet some great people from your community and learn ways of being prepared and keeping your family and yourself safer in an emergency.

”Animals are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations,
caught with ourselves in the net of life and time,
fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."
Henry Beston