Giddy Up and Go! – Large Animal Safety
Post by: William J.P.Smith
When it comes to planning for disasters, many people don’t have a plan when it comes to their horses and large animals. During an emergency, resources for dealing with your animals can be stretched thin and evacuation centers set up for them can be chaotic at best. The Humane Society has some really good information on disaster preparedness for horses. The name of my horse is Hadji, and I do a lot of things to help keep him safe.
Some people have their horses boarded on their residential property. If you are like me, you have your horse boarded at a stable. If you are boarding at a stable, find out their preparedness plan and what preventive measures they have to keep your horse safe. If they don’t have a plan, work with them on developing one. I have a great working relationship with my stable manager as well as some of the other boarders. One of the first things I did before moving Hadji into the stable was tour the area. I looked for things that could be possible fire hazards such as exposed wires and unshielded light fixtures. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Is there a no smoking policy? Barn fires are the leading disaster risk for horses
The incident that I mentioned in my recent wildfire blog post required the evacuation of several horses. It can be a real logistical problem evacuating and sheltering horses and other large animals in an emergency. You need to have a predesignated shelter for your horse that is several miles away and have a back up location just in case. Plan for the unexpected. You may not be able to get home or to the stable due to the emergency. I have a list of friends that are prepared to help if needed. If need to shelter in place, you may want to consider alternative methods of getting water for your animals, as water supplies can become contaminated.
For some horse owners, the mere thought of having to load their horse in an emergency can be a scary one. Practice loading your horse into a trailer. That way it will be easier if you have to do it quickly. One of the things that you should also have is a three day emergency preparedness kit either at the stable, in the trailer, or in your vehicle. If you are evacuating your horse, then that means that you’re going too. Your horse needs a disaster kit as well. You should include photos of your horse in the event that you become separated and need to prove ownership. I have several close up pictures of my horse including his distinguishing markings available in print, on my phone and in my email.
Livestock owners should have a preparedness plan in place for their animals. When these animals are your major livelihood, you should ensure that you know what measures to put in place to protect them in the event that a disaster occurs in your area. Put a preparedness plan in place now to keep you and your animals safe. A great resource I have used is the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association.
Remember, your animals depend on you 2BeeReady.