I just turned this post into a sticky. (My first sticky. I'm so proud of myself! sniff).
Please post your Horse-Related Emergency Preparedness Tipshere. Also, please post where you're from, ie: tornado or hurricane area, etc. I would like to make this an easy reference. Thank you!
Finally I am working (no, really, I'm doing it this time) on my emergency preparedness kit with my family, which includes my husband, 3 kids, plus horses, barn cats and dog.
My mustang mare has the Mustang freeze brand on her neck, but how else do I identify my other horses in case of a natural disaster? Do any of you have your horses freeze branded? And, what is the best info to put on a halter tag? phone? cell? address? all of it?
After having lived through a devastating tornado here in the Ohio Valley in 1974, and noting the recent horrible weather across the nation, I am now officially concerned and trying to make a plan.
Also, at this point, should there be bad storms, I keep the horses in. Tornado? Turn Out or leave in? I'm saying turn out to give them a fighting chance but I may change on this.
Is anyone else going through emergency preparedness confusion like me?
Last edited by souvenir; Jun. 3, 2008 at 04:14 PM.
Reason: Made it a sticky
This won't help you since you're in Ohio - but in Virginia, the gubmint has suspended the sales tax on survival equipment for the upcoming hurricane season.
Not directly horse related - sorry. I don't have a list of the equipment in front of me - but things like generators I do know are on the list. Tarps, ropes, lanterns, etc.
Perhaps your state has something similar going on (not for hurricanes but just in general). If not, you can always contact your extension agent because those folks are always helping farmers prepare for natural disasters - and that includes their livestock. So things like evacuation sites, contact lists, etc. will be of great use to you.
In Virginia, the Horse Industry Board (pm a lady called RNB for more info) maintains a list of farms and grounds that people can reference if they need to evacuate. My farm is listed in case folks from the coast need to move inland with their livestock and need a place for them to stay. Often people need a place not only for their horses, but dog friendly places too (or goats, donkeys, etc.)
Perhaps your state horse industry board has something similar. Anyway, good luck and if I think of anything else I'll holler.
As far as tornadoes and storms - my rule is - if they're in - they stay in. If they're out - they stay out. I'm not risking my life trying to handle panicked livestock. (been there done that have the scars)
Living in Florida we have to deal with hurricanes. I always leave them out - actually they prefer to be out. They find the lowest spot in the pasture, stick their butts into the wind and ride it out. I do put fly masks on them to keep debris out of their eyes. I also use surveyors tape, and with a permanent marker I put my phone number on a strip. One goes in their mane and the other in their tails. The tape also reflects so if they do get out they can be seen in the dark.
The tape idea in mane/tail is a great idea! JSwan, I'll look into my local government and see what they hve to offer. I'm building my list slowly.
I did find this link: http://www.xcodesign.com/aaep/displa...les.cfm?ID=251
which gives some pretty good info. I didn't realize I should prepare an ID packet for each horse AND a photo of me with horse in case ownership is disputed in a rescue situation.
Althought they are not as widely as they should be, RFID is a good way to go. There are no outward signs of ownership but if your horse is found and scanned, ownership is 100%. Also, you can add a name plate to a halter. I am originally from coastal NC, so we had hurricane halters made up with dog collar type tags, only a couple dollars a piece and they are rivited to the halter. If you use halters, make sure they are good leather or at least have a leather crown in case they get stuck in or on somehting. Finally, for identification, we used paint sticks. You can find them at most farm stores and they are usually used for hogs or cattle marking. We just wrote our phone numbers on the side of the horses. In florescent colors, you can see it from hundreds of feet away. We would start at the shoulder and put all 9 digits on each side in big print. The color may take a few weeks to wear off but its good piece of mind. As one of the other posters said, a good record of ownership is always a good idea. Photos, vet records, breed registrations, freeze brands and lip tatoos all help ID lost horses.
Regarding water, horses require between 5 and 15 gallons per day to survive. Depending on age, size, exercise activities. We always topped off water buckets, water troughs and then had several 50 gallon drums that we would fill up just in case.
Other things to think about:
1. Trailer or emergency access to one.
2. Stabling arrangements if you have to leave.
3. Enough feed for several days since many storms put businesses in a pinch.
4. If you are worried about bad weather, reconsider keeping your horses in or out. If you have 100% faith in your barn, I would keep them in. If you have any worries that it could blow down or cave in, turn them out. I know that most people turn their horses out, as I usually do. But if you have blowing winds, like a hurricane, flying debris can cause a lot of injuries. But keep them in only if you completely trust the structure.
5. Keep enough hay for a few days. Keep it covered well since most storms include high winds.
6. FIRE. I could go on for hours about fire prevention and protection. Don't smoke in or near the barn. Don't store hay in a hay loft. Keep a CHARGED fire extinguisher near each exit. Check for old wiring and rodent damage, they do eat wire. If you can afford it, consider a sprinkler system.
These are just a few ideas that came to mind when I read the post.
I also did a search here on COTH using keywords "emergency prepare" and printed out the info. Is there a way to maybe have a standing list of how to prepare, tips, etc. for emergencies? Just a thought.
That's a great idea! I was watching the news today and though hurricane season actually starts tomorrow - there is a tropical storm off Belize today. Lingering La Nina, I guess. Weather is unsettled.
So maybe you could PM a moderator and ask that she put a sticky up? I don't know how many horse owners in Virginia know that the sales tax on survival equipment has been suspended. It's a good time to buy emergency equipment for the farm!
I just finished writing an article on this topic which will be out in a few months. In doing interviews and research, I realized that I am way behind on this, and most of my friends are, too. I think it's because we don't want to consider that our world can be turned upside down in an instant.
Petsmart and most vet offices sell small metal tags that you can have engraved with your horse's information. We should also keep a copy of all registration/ownership/vaccination records in an emergency kit. We should all have an emergency evacuation plan including a destination, medical kit, feed, money and transportation.
I learned so much more in my research and my article has lots more in it. I hope it will help other horse owners realize how close we all live to the unthinkable, even though we shouldn't live our lives worrying. But we should be prepared anyway.
The PETS Act was passed after Katrina to address the issue of pets and disaster preparedness. Each state must develop a disaster preparedness plan that includes animals in order to qualify for FEMA funding, so check out your local land grant university extension service for information, or read my article in a few months for more information. :-)
This would be an excellent thread to add to the reference section when everyone's through making additions. We can also merge it with existing threads containing similar info--if anyone's knows of particularly good ones, post a link and we'll merge them.
EquineDirectory.com is right about painting the beasties!
I'll see if I can find the picture (it's been a while) but when we were in MS after Katrina, I remember being very impressed with one horse who had its information painted in day-glow orange on its side. I know it had a phone number that was easily read from a distance.
In addition to other suggestions,
Be sure to have a photo of you and your horse for ID, and be sure the names you put on the ID tags is the name on the Coggins and/or registration papers; hard to prove that "Buddy" really IS "Bud a roo light"....
We use two of the "dog tags" from the machine at Petsmart; one braided into tail the other braided into Mane.
The PETS Act was passed after Katrina to address the issue of pets and disaster preparedness. Each state must develop a disaster preparedness plan that includes animals in order to qualify for FEMA funding, so check out your local land grant university extension service for information, or read my article in a few months for more information.
That is correct. However some states have only put a token effort into following though. One of the things they have done is turn over the duries to a SART, State Animal Response Team, under them is CARTs, County/Community Animal Response Teams. Most are comprised of unpaid volunteers. Lots of people have volunteered in some locations and are dedicated to responding and helping. Other areas volunteers are scarce. Some of these people are small animal people (cats & dogs) not large animals like horses. All have families and in lots of cases animal of their own. Primary duty is for them to take care of their own first, yours and others are secondary in a disaster. They themselves may leave the area. Look how many firefighters, police and even school bus drivers left during Katrina. They were very much needed.
My point is everyone needs to look out for themselves have a plan, don't count on the government to be there for your animals. They have pawned their duties off to volunteers. In some cases I wonder if after all that happened after Katrina and all the complaints that they put it together this way to take the heat off them. They can say we had a plan, and nobody showed up, it's not our fault.
Lot of great suggestions have been placed here so far. Please have a plan in place that works for you, don't count on others to bail you out in a disaster.
7HL, I agree with you. The horse owners I interviewed made it clear to me that even though the government is supposed to be there to help us in an emergency, the bottom line is that each of us has to be prepared to handle any emergency on our own. That means developing our own disaster preparedness plan including a 'safe' destination for our horses, a way to get them there and plans to feed and care for your horses at an evacuation site. It is also important to choose a rallying point for family members and a complete disaster preparedness kit including medical supplies, basic stable supplies, documents and cash.
We've had to evacuate in the past, and we've helped others to evacuate as well (fire, in both instances in the past).
All of our horses are freeze marked, so IDing them in an evacuation situation is simplified. All of thier information (including freeze marking info, registration papers, etc, are in the fire safe, easily at hand).
This is what we have in place:
1) We keep on hand at least one halter and lead for each and every horse.
Years ago, a client who lived in a very narrow canyon that caught fire (in Santa Ana wind conditions), had nine horses on the property...and just three halters and lead ropes. No trailer, either. They handed the horses off to complete strangers walking out of the canyon, using longe lines, bailing twine and anything else that they could find, wrapped around the horse's heads. I've never forgotten her story.
2) Each and every horse we have knows how to load in a trailer, easily.
Same client above, had several who had never been taught to load. When help finally did arrive for her horses (humane society, etc), they couldn't get over half of the horses into the trailers to be evacuated.
3) Emergency first aid kits - both human and equine. Our vets have helped us to develop the equine versions, as we are out in the "boonies" and in the case of say, a catastrophic earthquake, our area could concieveably be cut off and on it's own for a couple of weeks. We keep wound supplies, wraps, sterile cotton and such, as well as antibiotics, tranquilizers, and so on. Fly masks to protect eyes as best we can, also.
4) Depending on the emergency situation and location, we have several places lined up that we can take the horses to, and those property owners understand that we may not be able to contact them in advance, either - just load and go. In addition, we have several contacts who would come in with thier own trailers....more on that, below.
5) We have an emergency contact lined up out of state, who has agreed to relay messages and so on back and forth - should cell towers be out of commission and family and friends need to communicate.
6) Emergency water supply is kept on hand, along with supplies to purify water. In a really tight situation, and if roads were not passible, we could walk the horses about a mile to a reservior to water them a couple of times a day, if needed...or we could bring back additional water if necessary. Even should the dam break, there would remain some pockets of water.
7) If we had to leave horses behind, we would write ID and phone numbers of the out-of-state contact as well as our own cell numbers in permanent marker on thier hooves. We might also paint phone numbers on them also.
8) We keep a minimum of a couple of weeks' worth of feed on hand. If marooned in place, the horses would have plenty. If we evacuate, a sudden change in feed isn't a concern to add to everything else.
There is more to our plans that are in place, but the basics are here.
When we evacuated our own horses, we had five on the property (three of our own, and two of the neighbors) and just a two horse trailer at that time. We did, however, have a network of friends who came running with thier own trailers. Although road closures kept them from getting in, we were able rendevous at a spot a little over a mile away; we took the horses out of the closure area and transfered them to a waiting trailer, then as residents we were allowed to take back roads in to get the rest out.
Nowadays, we have just three on the property, and a three horse trailer in addition to the two-horse *grin* We could pull all of them out in one load, and a ton of other supplies as well (we do have two tow vehicles) - or we can help some nearby friends without a trailer, if need be.
When we helped someone evacuate 52 head last fall, they had a network of friends, clients and trainers who came running (naturally, thier own big trailer was in the shop!). They had a chart made up with which to record which horse(s) went with whom, and where. Each and every horse had a halter and lead, with the horse's ID, owner's name, and contact info on it in permanent marker, on duct tape wrapped around the cheek piece of the halter, and ranch help quickly loaded feed for the horses with each rig that left.
Oh...we also keep face masks/filters on hand, in case we find ourselves working in heavy smoke again. We also keep rags that we can dampen and hang from the halter nosebands and down over the horse's nostrils to help as much as we can in that respect, also. The horses are all accustomed to that kind of thing anyway.