Preparing For Disaster for Pets and Horses
We are currently seeing a lot of disaster hit our country such as fires, floods and hurricanes, to name a few. After the destruction, we hear about many horses and pets stranded, abandoned and lost without homes. Much of this can be avoided if the owners had prepared ahead of time for disaster.
So how can a horse or pet owner prepare for these disasters ?
Here are some tips for developing a disaster plan for the animals for when disaster does strike.
Map Out An Evacuation Plan.
Before disaster strikes, decide where to evacuate the horses. Contact show grounds and fair grounds to see it they may have available stalls - or contact other farms or horse facilities to see if they may be able to house your horses in an emergency. Once a few places have been identified, keep phone numbers and addresses handy, should an emergency arise. Calling ahead to reserve a space ahead of time will increase your chances for getting space for your horses.
Map out several routes to take in case one is blocked and determine how you will get your horse to the destination. If you do not have a trailer, make other plans for emergency transport. If using your own rig, keep it evacuation ready. Make a thorough check of the tires, trailer floorboards, and the hitch on a weekly basis. Always keep the truck gassed up.
Allow time for hauling by leaving early, otherwise, roads will be congested and possibly impassable, stressing your horses.
In the case of pets, know where your pets will be housed ahead of time since most shelters will not accept pets.
Put Together An Emergency Evacuation Kit
It is a good idea to assemble an evacuation kit before crises strikes and keep it in an easily accesible place such as your truck or trailer, if you have one.
Include in your kit:
- At least a 3 day supply of food (hay and grain) plus two buckets (for food and water) for each horse.
- Large water tight containers to transport water making sure they are filled. This will ensure the horses have a safe supply of drinking water since water may be hard to come by during a disaster.
- Halter and lead rope for every horse. Have ID tags attached to the halters with the horse's name, plus your name, address and phone number. Or write the info on the halter with permanent marker. This way if you somehow are separated from your horse, there will be a better chance of having him returned to you.
- Copies of health records, registration records, negative Coggins papers, or any other records you may have.
- A minimum of 3 day supply of medications your horse may need.
- Several photos of your horses to help in identifying them. During a chaotic situation, they may end up being shuffled around.
In case evacuation is not possible, follow these tips:
- Before losing power or water lines break, fill up several large, clean 55 gallon plastic garbage cans with drinking water for your horses, as well as for your family and pets. It is a good idea to have a 3-10 day supply.
- Have flashlights, lanterns and a supply of fresh batteries on hand.
- Consider turning your horses out into a fenced pasture with a shelter. Usually, they will be safer in the open field than in a barn, which can collapse or burn.
- Keep halters on the horses with ID tags attached with your information or the information written on the halters.
- Close barn doors, so the panicked horses do not run back inside the building.
It is strongly suggested that the disaster plan be written out, giving copies to family, friends, neighbors and barn helpers. This way, when the crisis strikes when you are not around, others will know what to do.
Brigita McKelvie is a REALTOR® (Pennsylvania License #RS297130) with Cindy Stys Equestrian & Country Properties, specializing in rural and horse properties and farms in Eastern Pennsylvania. She has an e-Pro® (Certified Internet Expert) certification and a GRI (Graduate, REALTOR® Institute) designation.
Brigita McKelvie, REALTOR
Pennsylvania License #RS297130
Rural and Horse Properties and Farms
Cindy Stys Equestrian & Country Properties, Ltd.
The Premier Equine and Country Real Estate firm serving Eastern Pennsylvania from back yard operations to world class equestrian facilities.
Use a REALTOR with "horse sense" that doesn't horse around when it comes to horse properties.