What Do I Do Before a Disaster?
A disaster can occur at any time. Preparing ahead of time and acting quickly is the best way to keep your family and livestock safe.
- Make arrangements for a friend or neighbor living nearby to take care of your animals. In the event disaster strikes when you are not/cannot return home. The person should be familiar with your animals, know where your food and water and animal records are kept and your evacuation or shelter in place plans.
- Decide ahead of time if you will evacuate your animals or shelter them in place if an emergency occurs.
- If you plan to shelter in place and keep your animals on the farm, decide what is the best place for them to be in different types of emergencies. For example in a flood, it would be best to keep them on high ground.
- If you may want to evacuate your animals, have means of transportingf them. This could either be having your own trailer or having arrangements with a neighbor or friend to trailer your animals in an emergency. Also have the necessary halters or fencing needed to move these animals.
- Have safe handling and loading facilities in advance.
- Locate and prearrange an evacuation site for your animals that is outside your immediate area. These alternate locations can consist of a friend's house, a private stable or fairgrounds. It is important to check the availability of these locations to house your animals in an emergency beforehand. Know the housing options that are available at these facilities for your animals. Be prepared to bring portable fencing or livestock panels.
- Check for alternate water sources in case a disaster creates power outages that cause pumps and automatic watering systems to stop working. This can be contact with the local fire department or other vending companies that would be able to bring water to your farm when disaster strikes.
- Keep insurance coverage on your farm and animals current.
- Always have enough feed, hay and bedding on your farm to last for 7-10 days. Avoid running out of feed before you buy new supplies. See http://www.training.fema.gov/emiweb/downloads/is10_a-8.pdf for the short term dietary requirements for farm animals during disasters.
- Have water for at least 72 hours for your animals.
- Keep trailers or other vehicles for evacuation well maintained and easily accessible.
- Have all your important animal health records and contacts together in a sealed plastic bag or document holder. Keep one copy at the farm and one in the trailer. These should include an inventory of your animals (sex, breed, ID, color), their health and veterinary records, veterinary and other important contact information.
- A lot of sheep and goat look alike. It is important to have identification on your sheep and goats that would link them to your premises in case they escape or get comingled in a disaster. An example of some ID that would link to your farm would be registration tattoos, scrapie tags or microchips.
- Decide where to keep your feed, hay and other farm supplies to keep them safe in a disasaster.
- Become familiar with local evacuation routes.
- Visit your county Office of Emergency Management website to sign up for automatic updates.
- Have a backup generator available in case the electricity goes out.
- Test or run your backup generator a few times per year and make sure that you have adequate fuel to run the generator for at least 72 hours.
- For larger operations that have pastured animals with electric fences, consider bringing these animals inside in case there is an abrupt power failure.
- Review your emergency plans for different disasters.