Develop a Barn Safety and Evacuation Plan
Your evacuation plan should outline each type of disaster and determine specific scenarios best suited for each situation. It should include a list of resources such as trucks, trailers, pasture and/or feed which might be needed in an evacuation as well as a designated person who will unlock gates and doors and make your facility easily accessible to emergency personnel.
Post your plan in a clearly visible place.
Make sure that everyone who lives, works or boards at your barn is familiar with the plan.
Get to know your neighbors and their animals.
Select a neighborhood coordinator who is familiar with your evacuation plan and will be ready to assist should a disaster occur when you are not at home.
Learn to handle your neighbors' animals and identify those which have special handling needs (i.e. stallions).
Post an updated phone list (home and office) of all neighbors and anyone who boards at your facility.
Food and Water Requirements
Water is ALWAYS given free choice to all animals. Animals (except birds), like people, can go extended periods of time without food, but can only last a couple of days at the most without water. Sources of feed should be identified before a disaster.
During and Following a Disaster
Your personal safety and that of those around you should always be your first concern. A pre-determined plan will help you remain calm and think clearly. Remember to communicate and cooperate with all emergency personnel. If you must leave the premises let someone know where you are going and try to remain in contact with that person.
In the Event of a Fire
Do not enter buildings that are already burning--smoke inhalation will slow you down and possibly kill you. Contact emergency personnel immediately. Report changes in wind direction, speed and fire behavior. Post a lookout for possible dangers. Have your trailer hitched and pointed towards the road. Leave barn doors unlocked and keys in the ignition. Put halters on animals and keep gates unlocked but secure. If you believe that the barn will burn before emergency personnel will arrive, release the animals to a safer location. Animals often will return to a place they know as home, but you should not enter buildings that are already burning. Leave this to fully equipped emergency personnel. Smoke inhalation can slow you down and kill you.
If you are caught out in the open when the fire hits, seek areas with sparse vegetation or bare ground. Lie face down in a depression and cover yourself with anything that will protect you from the heat. Avoid trying to outrun the head of a fire, instead watch for slower burning flanks. Do not attempt to control the animals that are with you. Let them go free--they will have a better chance of escaping the fire.
In the Event of an Earthquake
During the quake remember to Drop, Cover, or Hold On. Once the tremors have stopped, take a good look around. Do not enter buildings that may have become unstable during the quake. Like you, your animals will be frightened and need reassurance. If an animal has become injured or trapped, call emergency personnel immediately. Be prepared for aftershocks.
In the Event of a Flood
If you receive notice of rapidly rising waters, move all animals, feed and water to higher ground. Escape routes may be cut off quickly so avoid leaving animals in standing water or in areas that may be easily cut off by the flood.
If You Must Leave Animals Behind
Post a highly visible sign (either on a window or a door) letting rescue workers know the breed and amount of animals which remain. Leave plenty of food and water in an adequate container that cannot be tipped over. Place extra food close to the animals so rescue workers may feed them daily. Do not tie the animals or leave them confined in an area that may be easily destroyed. Loose animals on roads or highways can be easily injured and interfere with emergency rescue vehicles, so the animals should be directed towards a safer area such as a pasture.
If Your Animal Becomes Lost
Immediately call or visit the nearest animal shelter or emergency command post. When deemed safe, return to your neighborhood to post and distribute lost animal posters, which include your name, address, phone number and a picture of the animal. Animals may stay hidden for weeks, so be patient and continue searching your area.
If You Find a Lost Animal
If you should find a lost animal, please notify the local animal shelter as soon as possible and be prepared to give a full description of the animal (i.e. color, breed, sex) and its location. Remember that sick and/or injured animals can become unpredictable from the stress of injury, and should be handled by a professional familiar with proper handling techniques.
What Can You Do to Help
Help organize a neighborhood rescue group.
Join an animal rescue team and learn techniques to aid animals during a disaster.
Get your veterinarian involved.
Check to see if there is a local animal care organization in your area that you can join.
Before Disaster Strikes
- Be Prepared
- Reduce Hazards
- Maintain a firebreak around all buildings
- Mow weeds and trim trees which reside close to any buildings.
- Regularly clean roofs and gutters
- Repair exposed wires, rotten supports and blocked waterways.
- Post No Smoking signs
- Clearly label all shut-offs
- Store combustibles such as hay, straw, wood, shavings and/or gasoline away from animal barns
- Remove overhanging trees that may fall on animals or buildings
- Keep an adequate water source
- Identify Your Pet
- Keep animal vaccinations current and photographs, papers and other identifying documents in a safe and easily accessible location.
- Brand, tag, freeze marking, tattoo or implant your animals with a permanent Microchip I.D.
- Prepare a Disaster Kit
|Successful disaster preparedness depends on knowing where emergency equipment is stored and keeping it easily accessible. Your facility should be equipped with ladder(s) long enough to reach the roof, cotton ropes, shovels, rakes, water buckets, flashlights or lanterns, blankets and a minimum of 100 feet of hose. Restraining equipment such as cotton halters, cotton lead ropes, collars, whips, hot shot, hog snares, blindfolds, fence panels and hot wire kits are also a must in an emergency. Have an adequate, portable first-aid kit and a battery powered radio ready at all times.