What Do I Do Before a Disaster?
A disaster can occur at any time. Even small disasters like gas leaks and small flood, can occur unexpectedly and keep you from tending your animals. Preparing ahead of time and acting quickly is the best way to keep your family and livestock safe.
- Make arrangements for a friend or a neighbor living nearby to take care of your horse in the event disaster strikes when you are not home or cannot return home. This person should be familiar with your animal and know how to evacuate your horse and the location of your Go Bag.
- Locate and prearrange an evacuation site for your horse that is outside your immediate area. These alternative locations can consist of a friend's house, a private stable, racetrack, other horse farms, veterinarian's office and fairgrounds. It is important to check the availability of alternate locations and the entry requirements.
- Make arrangements with these locations to accept your horse before an emergency occurs.
- Have a means of transportation to move your horse. This could either be your own trailer or have agreements with friends or neighbors to trailer your animal in an emergency.
- If you don't plan on or cannot evacuate your horse, know where the best place to keep your horse on your farm, depending on the type of emergency. For example if you anticipate a flood, putting your horse on high elevation may be better than a place that is lower elevation that can easily flood.
- Check for alternate water sources in case a disaster creates power outages that cause pumps and automatic watering systems to stop working.
- Keep insurance coverage on your farm and animal current.
- Have enough feed, hay and water for 7-10 days. See http://www.training.fema.gov/emiweb/downloads/is10_a-8.pdf for the short term dietary requirements for farm animals during disasters.
- Prepare a Livestock "Go Bag" for your horse.
- Keep trailers well maintained and in an easy accessible location.
- Permanently identify each animal by microchip, tattoo (racehorses), tag or photograph (front, rear, left and right side including the legs). Write your horse's name as well as your emergency contact information on the back of the photograph.
- Other forms of horse ID that can be utilized in an emergency consists of neck collars, leg bands, mane clip, luggage tag braided into the tail or mane, clipper shaved information on the side of the horse and permanent marker on the hooves.
- Even placing a permanent tag on the halter that includes your name and emergency phone number along with the horse's name can help identify your horse if it is lost.
- Have important health records and contact information together in a sealed plastic bag or document holder. Keep one copy of this information at the farm and take one with you when you evacuate. These documents should include the inventory of your animals (number, ID, sex, breed and color), any veterinary and health records, Coggins test, veterinary and other important contact information. See Important Farm Contact Information.
- Decide to where to store feed and hay to keep it safe during disaster.
- Become familiar with local evacuation routes
- Visit your Office of Emergency Management website to sign up for automatic updates.
- Test or run your backup generator, if applicable, a few times per year and make sure that you have adequate fuel to run the generator for at least 72 hours.
- Practice loading your horses into trailers to acclimate them to the trailer and evacuation procedures.
- Review your evacuation plans for different disasters.