What would you do if your farm was threatened by flooding, tornadoes or wildfires? Where would your horses go?
The American Veterinary Medical Association offers tips for animal owners to prepare for disaster.
-Familiarize yourself with any type of disaster that may affect your area, including non-natural emergencies such as a hazardous materials spill.
-Be prepared for a possible disruption of services, such as electricity and water. Identify a backup source of food and water for your horses.
-Err on the side of caution. If an evacuation seems likely, don’t wait until the last minute. Having time to take your horses with you is the easiest way to avoid potential problems in a disaster’s aftermath.
-Maintain your pastures and barns. Get rid of unstable structures and dead trees on your property, and maintain your fences. This will minimize danger in a situation where you do have to leave your horses behind.
-Have a backup person, ideally a neighbor, that will be able to implement your animal evacuation plan if you are not at home.
-Practice your evacuation plan, especially trailer loading.
-Know the location of equine evacuation sites nearby. These may be equine hospitals, fairgrounds or other boarding facilities.
One of the most important things you can do for your horses is to make sure they have some form of identification. Have a halter with a nameplate or tag that lists your name and phone number. If disaster is impending, leave your horse’s halter on so that relief workers will immediately be able to contact your if you are unable to return home. Make sure your dogs and cats are wearing collars with this information as well. Microchips can provide permanent identifications for all of your animals.
The AVMA recommends keeping the following in an evacuation kit for your horses.
-7-10 day supply of feed, supplements, and water.
-Bandannas (to use as blindfolds)
-Copies of veterinary records and proof of ownership
-Emergency contact list
-First aid kit
-Instructions for feeding and medications
-Leg wraps/quilt bandages
-Maps of local area w/alternate evacuation routes
-Halters and leads
-Plastic trash cans with lids (can be used to store water)
-Radio (solar and/or battery operated)
-Rope or lariat
For more information, view the AVMA brochure, Saving the Whole Family. Click here.
For more emergency preparedness information for horse owners, click here.