Dear Valued Client:
You live in an area prone to flood and/or fires. Your homeowner’s insurance has many methods to prepare and help reduce your property losses. There are small flashlights to have on hand which have a crank to recharge its batteries, has an emergency flasher/mirror, radio, and can recharge your cell phone, etc; JB Saunders in Boulder has such an item called a BodyGard Survivor.
The county also has information and pamphlets on living in such an area. In our state there are site at www.readycolorado.com and/or www.cfmf.org/. The enclosed information is to help you consider what to do in case there appears to be an evacuation. The FEMA site at www.ready.gov/ has some information, plus for tornado preparation one can go to www.nws.noaa.gov/om/brochures/tornado.shtml. Each family and location will be different. We suggest that you write down the information on the back of this page, and place it within a page protector inside a closet or near a fire extinguisher. Before writing on the 2nd page make a copy so you have an original for future updating. Everyone in your family should know where this is kept, and especially a pet/house sitter. If there is a possible pre-ready alert/pre-emergency notice, then this sheet should be reviewed by all. A previously made copy for each family member can be kept in the page protector. At the start of every decade at most, or if you have a major move and/or remodeling, your personal plan should be updated. At the same time inventory photographs of all rooms in the house and all buildings are suggested, and the roll of film and/or digital disc can be kept in a safety deposit box at the bank (It does not have to be developed if you still have film. We realize that time and undeveloped film and/or photos on a disc does have its problems). A flash drive you can send to your children so that someday they may want to review where they lived years from now. When taking pictures ensure all of the drawers and contents are photographed for “inventory”; ensure you date the disc, flash drive and/or envelope. Each year you should also consider downloading (or backing up) your computer and photos and storing them in your safe deposit box, a secure storage facility, etc; ensure that there is no banking, credit card data or etc which can cause problem if a theft occurs. If you store your information “on line/in the cloud” ensure you know the passwords to get into these accounts if your computer is lost. When storing valuable items consider a storage plan in your attic or basement. In a flood prone area store your items up in the attic, and if storing items in the basement consider the lowest boxes are things that you can afford to replace if the basement is partially flooded. If you live in a rural area it is recommended to have at least 3-5 days of supplies on hand, in case you the roads are closed, etc. At least once a year the family should sit down at a meal and discuss their emergency plan and the various factors which may cause a change (i.e. fire from the south versus a fire from the east). Make a note where to take the animals first, such as a neighbor a few miles away in town (and they pre-approve you literally dumping off the animals at a moment’s notice).
When one is ordered out of an area, due to a mandatory evacuation, sometimes one cannot carry out all the items they wish to save. Fortunately over half of the emergency evacuations will have a few hours notice (pre-evacuation alert), before the sheriff will mandate evacuation for everyone. Hopefully an evacuation will never occur, yet it is wise to prepare for such an event. Some reverse 911 calls are block. If you have such a system, and are in doubt, call the local sheriff department to see if the county system can reach your blocked number. For those with a blocking system there is a way to unblock it if there is a known upcoming disaster; contact your local phone company now to write down these directions on this side of the page. Using a cell phone only, not billed to a local address, also has problems with reverse calling. We recommend those who have the problems with reverse 911 to have a neighbor call you if they are notified (and/or you write down on this side of the page the names of those who you know have blocking systems in place). There are items, such as pet carrier, collars and ID tags which one will need to buy before a possible emergency; microchipping your pets or horse should also be considered with the next veterinary visit. ID tags or livestock neck collars will need to have your name and phone number. At times you may only be able to spray paint your animals as identification, before turning them out. When you think you have a good evaluation plan, always consider the variable and a “2nd mental plan” and think of these options while doing chores outside. What if the main road out is blocked? What if your house is burning and you cannot get in? What if the barn is burning and there are no halters, etc? All emergency plans need to be modified at the last minute. If one lives in an area where there are “quick emergencies”, such as tornadoes and tsunami waves, there are apps for your cell phone to alert you of such a danger.
Some items, such as a pet emergency kit, food and even drugs can be replaced and should be left behind in a quick evacuation. If you are interested in an emergency kit for animals, we have such a handout for the various species if you request. For human emergency and food kits you can to go the American Red Cross’s web site. If one has only one road out of the area, then they should consider evacuating sooner than when it may be a mandatory requirement. If one does not have any trailers to transport livestock, only one vehicle and you have 1+ loads, etc then they also must consider early transporting of items and assistance from other non-neighbors who will also be overstressed; you cannot always count on a neighbor for taking care of your pets. The sheriff’s first concern is protecting humans.
For those who have horses trained to come into the barn each night, we recommend you have your facility emergency plan with a check off task for closing the main doors after the horses are out of the barn, if this can be safely done; some horses will run back into their burning barn if they get loose when loading, etc. If you run livestock on river bottom where it periodically floods, you should open up the access to the “cow pads”/higher ground area if there is any suggestion of a possible flood alert. Every few months train the livestock each spring to come to this area when you sound a truck’s horn, or better yet a plastic blow horn (kept at the high ground area), etc. If you drop a few bales of quality hay each time you practice this drill it will help condition the animals. Some older, yet not moldy, bales of hay can be kept covered near the outside fence to be fed out if/when there is such rising water approaching; these older bales can later be fed out.
If you have an accredited herd or flock, we highly recommend you have a source where you can trailer the animals to if there is a flood or fire. If at all possible you do not want to co-mix your accredited breeding animals with the general population of animals in a local disaster. In a wide-scale disaster keeping SPF status or not exposing your accredited breeding animals to diseases may not be possible. It will be up to the owners of these accredited facilities to yearly confirm the ability of transport trucks, helpers and a location to take these accredited herds or flocks to.
We highly recommend microchips (RFIDs) to be implanted in all valuable breeding animals and pets. Halters, neck tags and/or collars are recommended to be kept on animals to visibly identify them as yours; chock chains, leashes and lead ropes are not recommended to be left on the average animal if not attended. If you need to turn loose an animal and/or you have no method of easily identifying your animals, should they get loose while traveling, take some duct tape and a pen, write down your name and phone number, and either make a collar out of the tape or attach the tape to the horse’s mane, etc. In 2005 the Hurricane Katrina showed the nation how valuable the uses of microchips were to reunite the pets and horses with their owners. If you board animals for others and/or have a livestock operation we have more information if you request it.
For A Possible Evacuation Alert:
Someone should take the livestock and consider moving them to a distant friend’s or the county fairgrounds. This is especially important when one has only one trailer and many animals. This person should also have a cell phone and/or call back to the house after delivering the 1st load of animals. It is important that everyone communicate when they start to return and/or change plans. If there is a mandatory evacuation not everything will fit into a trailer or vehicle. If this is so we recommend you turn the livestock loose to fend for themselves, leaving the neck collars, halters and/or ID tags on these animals. Ensure beforehand (now) that all of your halters and pet collars are identified with your first and last name on it; the name listed in the phone directory. Rabies tags, pet licenses and microchips also should be considered for animal identification. If all else fails you can write your name and phone number on some duct tape to use as a neck collar and/or attach to the horse’s mane, etc. If pets cannot be found then we recommend you also let them fend for themselves and leave a window open. With mandatory evacuation one will want to leave their doors unlocked, so the fireman and sheriff can look in the house if need be. In a flood area we recommend that you consider turning off your electrical power at the main breaker, leave open the breaker box and on our exterior door leave a note that the power is turned off. If you have sump pump then consider leaving this breaker on and manually turn off the others. With a mandatory evacuation the traffic travels only one way out, and it is very unlikely anyone will be able to come in and steal anything. In a tornado leaving the windows open does not reduced the possibility of the house blowing up; it is okay to leave them closed. A secondary place to meet or call, miles away and safer from your house, is suggested. In addition to the family meeting at a specific place everyone should to go the Red Cross Website to post their name and that they are ok. Utilities and phone lines for miles around are affected when there is a widespread problem. You will not be able to remove everything that you want. If it is a flood or fire there is a great chance that the electricity will be off for a few days; remove all of the food from the refrigerator and freezer and take it with you, even if you have to throw it away later. You can also turn off the power to the house and barns; leave a note for the emergency personnel that you did this and the location of the electrical boxes. Leave the door open and a note that you left and a phone where someone can contact you.
As your veterinarian we try to be available 24 hours a day for emergencies and/or admittance of patients who have currently active files with us. When there are fire evacuations in our area we leave the outside back lights on the livestock paddocks and/or outside dog kennels. Pets should be left in their kennels while you return home for another trip. Poultry cages can also be place inside in the back barn, without having to contact the clinic staff after hours. (Unfortunately due to limited boarding and stall facilities only clients with an active file can utilize this HMS service. We also donate our time to go to the rescue center at the local fairgrounds to examine and treat patients of all species). We can be the source of patient transfer relocation and/or central contact for your family if you have lost contact with your first 2 entities. Fortunately our county fairgrounds have an excellent facility for livestock, and their outdoor, covered stalls are unlocked 24 hours a day. The single livestock holding pens at the county fairgrounds are superior to most any barn or facility for holding livestock.
If you have had a fire above your home or building, ensure that the following 3-5 years that you have flood insurance (even if you are way above the river).
Family – Address –
In the event of a possible evacuation:
All livestock shall go to –
Location of Halters, Neck Collars and ID tags for Livestock –
As a backup location, all animals are to go to the Boulder County Fairgrounds at 9595 Nelson Road (corner of Nelson and Hover/North 95th Street).
Person and phone to call to assist in animal loading and travel:
Neighbor 2-10 miles away –
Close, yet out of area relative –
Relative/friend #3 –
Contact person to call to alert of potential disaster evacuation, which also is the contact person for all family to coordinate efforts and locations.
Person # 1 =
Back Up Contact #2 =
The above two contacts are entered as ICE in our cell phones
Cell phone number(s) we have entered for reverse 911 =
ID tags and collars to be place on all pets, pet carriers brought out of storage. Halters with ID tags and/or neck tags to be place on all livestock.
Location of Pet Carriers =
Pets to go with the initial livestock evacuation are:
Neighbors to call who have a blocked phone line:
Location of documents to be place in boxes for evacuation:
Legal Documents –
Medical records (if indicated)-
Computer (only hard drive, if indicated) –
Other personal items to collect –
When there are over 5 boxes of items, it is suggested they are loaded into the vehicles. If it appears there is not enough room for boxes, pets and people one vehicle will take a load to a secure spot. An extra copies of this sheet is left on the kitchen table when leaving. Each care in the family has such a sheet in the glove compartment. Since we are in a high evacuation risk area, contact #1 also has a copy.
Location to take non-animal items for storage (also see contact person above):
Evacuation note for fireman/sheriff:
Location animals went to –
Location of household goods –
Contact person –
Description of the animals left behind –
We have (or not) turned off the electricity =
Natural gas =
EMERGENCY DOCUMENT REFERENCE: xxxxx Family
Date – xxxxxxx
Company Policy #
Household Insurance –
Earthquake Insurance –
Fire Insurance –
Flood Insurance –
Health Insurance –
Car Insurance –
Life Insurance –
Business Insurance –
Driver’s License #
Animals Microchip Insurance Co-Policy
Medical records are at xxxx veterinary clinic
Contact Person in case of a disaster =
People and Animals
Emergency Kit for a Family:
Primary Kit – to go within 5 minutes notice, permanently stocked
in the clear tote box:
Flashlight (wind up, battery powered, shake = 3rd option)
Am/FM radio (wind up or battery powered); in our emergency
preparedness handout we have a source for such a
radio/light/cell phone recharging unit. Consider purchasing one
that also is a Weather Alert Radio; for more info go to
Extra Batteries (or a 2nd flashlight which is powered by shaking)
Preferably both flashlight and radio use same batteries
Matches in a waterproof container
1st aid kit
Canned food for 3-5 days
Dehydrated food for 3-5 days
Manual can opener, or preferably a multi-use tool with an opener
Paper plates, plastic utensils, plastic cups
Extra set of clothes and extra set of thick sole shoes
Blankets and bedding (sleeping bags, kept in the garage with
Pet food (for 3-5 days), pet medicines and pet carriers
Medicine kits for each family member (moist towelettes,
toothbrush and toothpaste)
Additional, for a notice of 15+ minutes to leave:
On work bench near camping equipment shelf:
1 gallon of water/person/day for 3-5 days; fill up collapsible jug
Clorox, small size (1cc/gallon is the same as 1 gallon
per 3800 gallons of drinking water); best is to boil water
for 3 minutes. As a disinfectant a 1/32 dilution (120 ml
or 4 oz/gallon). Water purification tablets are another
option for the emergency kit, or 5 drops of 2% iodine to
a gallon of water (10 drops if dirty).
Small tool box (hammer, wrenches, pliers, screwdriver)
Large trash bags, 3 ml (can double as a rain poncho)
1/4″ cord rope
Lantern and fuel
Tasks to do before leaving, if time allows:
Turn off Electricity; main box is at end of the hallway.
(Flip all the breakers expect for #6, which is the sump pump
on a GFI receptacle).
Turn off natural gas; easiest is the valve outside the garage.
A Crescent/adjustable wrench is kept in the garage
Turn off water; easies is where it comes into the house ….
(If flooding in the basement and it is due to a broken pipe,
the water turn off is in the pit out front near the mail
box and all electricity at the main breaker)
Each year go to the websites to update the information:
Each spring when we change the batteries on the smoke/fire alarms we will have a family drill. We will also check the expiration dates on the food and batteries in our emergency kit. This kit is kept on the shelf where we keep the dog food and the dog’s medicines.
Every family member has a travel kit for when we go on the road; in this kit is a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, small shampoo & soap (from the hotel), and a week of medicine.
On the birthday anniversary of the oldest member of the household, she/he will email the updated Emergency Document Reference sheet (as an attachment) to other members in the household; this way we all have some information available if there is a major problem. (And the old information is to be deleted from our old email box).
Inside the pet carrier we store the collapsible bowels and the pet emergency kit; the carrier is kept in the garage near the camping items.
Emergency, horse kit
EMERGENCY KIT FOR TRAVELING WITH YOUR HORSE:
Knife (to cut ropes with in case your horse gets wrapped up.
A Leatherman or similar universal tool is ideal).
Gauze, 4″ x 4″ gauze pads, Vet-wrap, tape, duct tape. For long trips
and/or multiple animals there is some combo-wrap for multiple
animals; a large gauze roll with a plastic mesh to keep the
cotton more in place.
Marking pen to write on duct tape, etc (i.e. neck ID band if in a
forest fire and need to turn horses and/or pets loose)
Antibiotic ointment. It is best to carry a water soluble ointment, such as Nolvasan, than an oil based product (i.e. Triple Antibiotic). If you want a laceration to be sutured up, then
an oil based ointment should not cover the wound first.
Bandage Scissors – preferably the type that will also cut a penny;
these black handled scissors can cut wire.
Antibiotics for the horse (oral or inject, syringes if applicable)
For efficiency one can take along human labeled antibiotics and use them on animals; ask your DVM for dosage of the antibiotics
you already have. Sulfa drugs for horses are not recommended
for humans, even if human labeled SMZ-TMP, etc.
Halter with your name, phone, etc. taped onto it (also mark the
saddle in case the horse should get away from you. If your
horse is not to be in a fenced area, he should be taught to be
hobbled or a picket line weeks to months before leaving. (A lead
snap on a line or tie out should be 12” from the ground, on
In addition to the basic kit (for a day or more away from home):
Pain relievers (Banamine, bute, human aspirin)
Thermometer – digital, first try to ensure it works
Matches and a small fire extinguisher
Flashlight, preferably one that doubles as a head lamp. For a 2nd
lamp a LED survival-type flashlight, which works by shaking or
cranking it is recommended; we have a good source in our
emergency preparedness handout.
Emergency locator devise or portable phone
Toilet tissue paper (to identify your location for aerial spotting with an “X“ and/or for an arrow indicating the direction you are
going when lost)
Whistle, to have if you get lost by yourself
Wire cutters (for a fence; some bandage scissors will only cut one
Flat head screwdriver and hammer (to pull off a shoe);
also for repairs
Oral antibiotic pills (vials break)
Tranquilizer (i.e. oral detomidine to place under tongue.
Does your horse have any special needs, such as heaves (COPD) medicine, grass founder, HYPP, pregnant over 7-9 months, etc?
(Many of these items can be kept in the vehicle’s glove box or trunk)
Additional items to consider if away for a week or more:
Allergic reaction kit (can use the EIP-Pen for humans)
also Benadryl for humans (can use in animals at 25 mg per 50#)
Glue-on horse shoes (important if going into rocky areas)
Extra halter and lead rope for the group
Farrier supplies, if someone is knowledgeable of their use.
A list of facilities which can board horses (cross-country camping), if applicable
Radio, crack operated (no batteries needed, i.e. BodyGard Survivor)
Tranquilizer (injection and/or oral, such as acepromazine)
In addition to consider:
plastic sheeting (folded)
IV bag to soak foot, empty (puncture/nail) – until needed to
use to hold items and place a couple disposable vinyl
gloves inside (latex deteriorate over time).
Skin stapler, water soluble antibiotic creme, chlorahexadine solution, surgical scrub brush
Liniment – to consider a combo product such as BenGay which can
be used on humans.
Poultice (Animal Intex pad)
small mirror (to attract attention)
(The list has been presented from the most important to the least important, in our opinion). Some of the items, such as antibiotic pills, tranquilizers and skin staplers are prescription items.
Other items to consider as emergency type equipment for yourself is a “metal match” (H-25 Strike Master Survival Tool) which will work in wet and cold weather. A small hatchet for cutting up firewood (and/or protection).
When traveling with a horse you should stop every few hours and allow them to get out and graze IF you can trust this horse. A horse needs to lower their head periodically, especially if they have COPD lung problems. If your horse has COPD, we also recommend an inhaler (and not to consider long trail rides). We recommend giving 15x 325 aspirin, or 1/2 of the powdered aspiring dose, to a 1000# horse a day before an 8+ hour trip. Aspirin helps prevent myositis and also acts as a blood thinner to prevent blood clots from forming. If you need to identify your horse, you have duct tape (for bandaging) and hopefully a pen; all you need to do is write your name/phone number twice on the tape and stick the tape together back to back with a clump of mane hair in-between the two tapes.
We have a separate handout for emergency preparedness for horse stable, and also for other similar facilities.
Emergency, pet kit
EMERGENCY KIT FOR TRAVELING WITH YOUR PET:
collar with rabies tag and also your name, address, phone.
health certificate, rabies certificate (can leave in the glove box)
gauze, 3” x 3″ gauze pads, tape
antibiotic ointment. A water based ointment, such as Nolvasan, is preferred over an oil based product (Neosporin, etc), if you
have a laceration. You should not place an oil based product
over a wound to be sutured. Hydrogen Peroxide is not the best
product for wounds, yet if you carry this product the dose to
help make a pet vomit is 1 teaspoon per 10# body weight (i.e. if
the animal got into a non-oil, poison-like substance).
thermometer – digital, first try to ensure it works
Milk of Magnesia or a similar compound for diarrhea and upset
stomach. The dose is 1 teaspoon per 10# body weight for pets.
Do not give Pepto-bismol or bismuth containing products to a
List of hotels which accommodate pets, if applicable
Name and phone of your veterinarian, and medical records if your
pet has serious medical conditions (diabetes, etc). A microchip
is very important to reunite animals if they are separated from
their owners. You do not need to know the chip number if the
veterinarian implanted the microchip; the veterinarian has the
information. You should routinely check on the internet for
your pet’s microchip registration, especially if you have a
microchip that does not have a free lifetime registration and/or
change of information.
Does your pet have any special medical problems, such as diabetes, allergies, intestinal problems, etc?
Human Benadryl can be given to pets at 0.5-1 mg/# orally.
If you have human labeled cephelaxin, or another antibiotic, we can give you a dosage for pets.
One does not need to keep on hand items to form a splint for a broken leg, or a board for transporting a patient. When the need
occurs you can look around for items to utilize for these
If you are going camping, there are flashing lights made to attach
to your pet; any unleashed dog should have this flashing light
on while they are off leash in a national forest or similar
area. There are also GPS collars and systems available.
These flashing lights, and whistles, also work great
(The list has been presented from the most important to the least important, in our opinion).
Emergency, bird kit
EMERGENCY KIT FOR TRAVELING WITH YOUR BIRD:
Towel to cover the cage
Water-based antibiotic creme
Blood stop powder
Your avian veterinarian’s phone number; they’ll know how to contact
a nearby AAV member veterinarian if you have a problem. If you know how to tube feed a bird, go in the office before leaving
and ask about a “Nutristart” or other tube feeding formula,
feeding equipment, antibiotics, etc.
Does your bird have a special medical problem, currently laying eggs, etc. that may be altered by the stress of a trip?
(The list has been presented from the most important to the least important, in our opinion).
Part 1, #4 Emergency, reptile kit
EMERGENCY KIT FOR REPTILES:
Use a separate box for each pet. This can be as simple as one large plastic storage box, with holes in it for air, and smaller boxes for each animal–such as shoe boxes with holes in them. You will need two different plastic boxes for animals who will fight if they get loose. 3x large Rubber bands around each shoe box. Duct tape around the large plastic carrier. Address label for outside of the plastic box, plus a note with your address inside the box. All of these can be made up ahead of time and stacked inside the larger box. If you store items in these boxes, such as under the bed, plus keep shoe boxes for your shoes it is simple to empty these containers and grab the reptiles in an emergency— punching holes in the plastic box can come later; the shoe boxes probably are adequate without holes if the temperature is below 85 degrees.
Use water bottles for surrounding the outside of the storage box. Animals get loose, thus you should consider keeping the outside of the box above 50 degrees or so for temporary movement. You can drink the water yourself later. If you live in a cold environment there are 20 hour heat packs to consider for the reptiles (or you). Styrofoam boxes work well for insulation if you live in a very cold area. If you punch holes in any box there will be a loss of heat. Sometimes an ice chest works just as well in an emergency, and it has enough air movement where 4-5# of reptiles will be adequate in the 8″ x 12″ x 8″ size ice chest. In an emergency being quick and securing the pets is more important than figuring out pet food, etc. to take with you.
More pet reptiles will get lost than die from hypothermia or lack of food. Seal them up and examine them later when you are in a safe and secure area. Reptiles can go weeks without food, and also without water except water turtles and other aquatic reptiles. Use sponges for the latter species.
Barn or Stable Emergency Plan:
1. Owner’s horse halters hanging on each door, as a protocol for boarding; tack should be locked up. (Second best is to have all the halters in one area, and one person will lay out the halters near the stalls while others place them onto the horse). Each stall door normally has the name of the horse owner, phone numbers, veterinarians, etc; a duplicate for these names will be on a computer and updated quarterly on a print out to be kept in the stable’s emergency kit (see horse kit for 1+ week) and elsewhere. Some owner’s do not have their name on their halters, so near each stall door is permanently kept a clip with the name of the stable, stable phone number and stall tag number. These clips are attached to the halter. .
If no halters are able to fit that horse, there are some Velcro neck straps to attach to the neck of the horse with the tag, before turning loose if possible to do. If there is enough time, and no other method for identifying animals, the tack room has duct tape and a permanent marker. Neck bands and a phone number is the simplest and most effective quick ID for the neck or the mane of a horse. Horses not easily to be handled should just be turned loose; if all else fails a can of florescent spray paint is kept with the emergency barn kit as the last form of ID, before turning out; some horses do not like sprays so as they go through the gate one can try to spray (and watch out/be protective in an area for a kick). A digital camera is also kept in this kit for taking pictures of the horses which have to be turned loose, if possible. All owners should have pictures of their horses at home to send to the sheriff, so this is optional if there are not enough people. (The camera is also to document other emergency type issues in the barn, such as a fractured leg in a horse, a theft occurring and you are the only person around, etc).
2. Names of those who can transport horses are within the stable emergency kit (and also a print out is kept in the glove compartment of the stable manager’s truck, along with a copy of the animals and stall numbers; see #1 above).
There shall be at least 1 trailer spot per horse on the premises.
3. Names of those who volunteered to do the phone tree calling:
A. List of owners’ and where the horses will be taken to, with
the cell phone number of the person who is to coordinate
the arrival at the predetermined gathering area (D).
B. List of neighbors to call, especially if they are not on
reverse 911, per annual meeting and get-together of
the neighbors for the summer BBQ a the barn, regarding
C. Hay supplier and where to take some hay.
D. Other stable owners, per meeting, for those who have buckets
and items to bring to the designated gathering areas (emergency
evacuation that the county has pre approved).
4. As the trucks and trailers leave the premises, the priority for equipment evacuation is the tack and saddles, then the client’s own emergency kits, then feed. The catching up of horses and the gathering of them in the corral to load out is the first priority until enough staff and handlers have arrived. Space for animals comes first, then equipment.
5. Every yearly quarter we will have coffee, donuts and go through the plan at the stables. There will be emergency evacuation and the 3-4 back up plans will be discussed. Besides the 3-4x escape routes we will have the <20 minute notice of mandatory evacuation and what is important, versus the 4+ hour notice of possible evacuation.
Besides the emergency evacuation plan to remove horses from the premises, we also will go through “what if” there is a fire started in our own barn emergency plan. If there is a fire the outer doors to each stall should be opened, and then shut once the horse(s) have left. After all of the horses have been let out then that person should make the rounds to open up all of the outside gates. If a horse will not go out of the stall then the door is to be left open and hopefully the horse will leave when the outside paddock gate is open; close the gate on this horse to prevent it from running back into the barn. If there is enough people available the gates to the outside paddock are also to be opened at the same time. In a barn fire there is usually not enough time to halter and identify any of the horses. Any inside only opening stall doors can be considered to be opened IF it does not allow danger to the person; let the firemen with their respirators do this work if there is smoke. Always call 911 first before calling anyone else at the stable to help. If someone comes up upon a barn engulfed in flames, and there are not any crying horses, then it is likely there are no horses alive inside.
Emergency Preparation for Horse Boarding Facilities:
If there is an 8 hour notice, many times the horse owners will be able to find a friend to help remove their horse and take it to a preferred site of theirs. Those stables are who at an end of a valley road need to be more proactive than one alongside a paved highway. For those who have no trailer, they need to tentatively set up hauling space with a friend’s trailer now being kept at the stables. You should have a list of all owners with the primary evacuation plan, a secondary plan in case the first plan is not viable and where to go (i.e. road is washed out at the bridge below/trailers cannot come in), and even the final evacuation/turn out plan when there is nothing else one can do. Owners with trailers at home may not be able to bring them into the area when there is a disaster, for a variety of reasons such as too much traffic going out, theft concerns by the sheriff, etc. As part of any stable information, the registration should have the name of a relative or someone else to contact if there is a problem; this is the person to call now to alert them they will be the go-between contact regarding the stable, sheriff and the horse owner. Once the premises has been evacuated an all animals are out the place cards on the barn door, house and front gate regarding “all evacuated, time/day” or “all animal and people evacuated, wild barn cat left behind”, etc. Managers who live on the farm should have a Weather Alert Radio; go to www.nws.noaa.gov/ for more information.
Do you have some tape to ID and mark owner’s equipment? Anything going off of the premises hopefully you will have enough time to mark and/or ID. The white porous tape used for bandages will work very well, and at minimum at least a stripe of tape around each lead/cord, etc will help identify later. Although one may want to take a few days of hay and food, this is one thing that you can leave behind when there is a short notice to evacuate; carry as many animals as you can in the trailers.
In the summer the water tanks should all be filled, even if one is planning to abandon the facility. It should be expected that the power/electricity will be off for a few days. If there is time and the labor, intact hay bales should be taken out of the barn to help reduce the chance of the barn burning. All shovels should be taken out and placed in pain view; if there is a grass fire these may be needed to help put out the fire. Sacks and rags shall also be placed near the water tanks, as these can be used to help put out small grass fires. It is best to let the firemen do their job and to leave with the animals. Paddocks where there are no animals should have their gates left open for now, and all gates are to be opened before leaving.
If everyone has less than 4 hours notice, where will all the horses be taken to? Do you have another stable which will accept these horses? Do you know where the emergency evacuation center(s) for the county are pre-located at? Do you have neck tags for every horse (or temporary markers, back tags or tags/labels if there are extra halters)? Have you encouraged the owners to have all their horses micro-chipped? We have a handout and can set up a clinic at the stables if requested for a microchip clinic; it is best to have the owner’s individual veterinarian microchip the client’s animal.
If less than a 30 minute notice, where are the horses going to be the safest? In a flood is there high ground nearby (and owner’s permission)? If a fire will engulf the entire area is there a place where the horses can go by turning them onto a road and directing them in a specific way with a lead horse? If there is only one trailer, the older horses can be placed in the trailer, a couple of tame horses can be tied to the trailer in back and the other horses are turned loose with the “caravan” slowly going down the road with someone at the first junction to direct the horses to go the right direction. There needs to be 2-3x directions and possibilities one must always be looking at BEFORE any such hazard presents itself; always plan for the “what if” scenario. No horses should be inside a barn; it is best to place them in a large paddock with the least amount of grass. The shovels from the barn are to be used to stomp out any grass fires as they approach and/or hopefully some water is still available. If the time comes the best thing is to leave the gates open and hope for the best. If you are surrounded and unsure where to go, do not stay in the corrals with the horses and instead consider staying inside a full water tank with a cotton blanket. Unfortunately it is best to leave when you can and allow the animals to fend for themselves. By you staying may only cause the animals to stay and come into harm’s way instead of escaping.
Emergency Preparation for Pasture Livestock Operations:
If there was a pasture fire or a flood, which fences would you cut? These fences to be cut should be part of a natural direction the animals take daily. Do you have 4-8x different areas encircling that pasture where you can let them out in most any direction? After they get through one pasture, then the next plan of care is? An eventual safe area of water (fire), higher ground (flooding) a county road to your home is needed for the plan, etc.
If the fences are your neighbor’s do you already have such an approval and coordinated plan(s)? Will an accreditation process be endangered if you comingle animals? Are all of your animals properly identified?
Emergency Preparations for Feedlots and Dairies:
Do you have trucks available to ship out cattle within a 1-2 hour notice?
Do you have facilities available elsewhere to unload the animals?
If you use these other facilities will this result in a loss of someone’s accreditation (TB, trichomoniasis, etc)?
Will the animals be co-mingled with different owners?
Do you have higher ground to turn the cattle onto if there is a flood? Do you have a lead horse, a trained lead cow and/or a cow recording for moving tamed cattle?
If there is a fire, and you cannot evacuate, do you have an adequate perimeter sprinkler set up? You can use the same sprinkler as that for heat stress and dust control. Will there be enough of a water supply for 3-4 hours?