The old saying of failure to plan is planning to fail is true when it comes to disaster preparedness and horse owners. In many parts of North America, there are no government or disaster agencies responsible for the evacuation, transportation and temporary stabling of horses during large-scale incidents. This makes horse owners completely responsible for taking care of their horses. in the case of impending floods, horse owners may have advance notice, so are thereby even more responsible for re-planning. When a flood, earthquake, fire or man-made emergency strikes, the steps you have taken ahead of time to protect the safety and well-being of your animals can mean the difference between life and death.
Over the next several Friday posts, Tack and Talk will be publishing recommendations intended to help you prepare for most disasters.
Long Range Planning
- Familiarize yourself with the types of disasters that could occur in your area and develop a written plan of action for each type of disaster. Keep this plan with your important papers and review the Disaster Plan on a regular basis with everyone involved. Post emergency numbers in a visible location in your stable or barn.
- Survey your property for the best location for animal confinement for each type of disaster. Identify food and water sources that do not rely on electricity.
- Decide where to take the horses if evacuation becomes necessary.
- Photograph the left and right sides of each horse as well as his face and medial and lateral legs. Also take a photo of your horse with you in it. This will help when picking up your horse from evacuation. Record his breed, sex, age and colour. Keep copies with important papers and prepare temporary identification tags for halters or clipping ID numbers directly onto the horse.
- Have all horse records written down and copied. Put one set in a zip lock bag and put any computer information onto a disk and into the zip lock bag. Also keep a copy of these records with your important papers.
- Keep vaccinations up to date.
- If you own a horse trailer or van, make sure it is insured and in good operating condition.
- Make sure your horse will load. Practice, practice and practice. no use in having a horse trailer if your horse won't load!
- Keep a supply of hay, grain, extra medications and veterinary supplies on hand. Consider keeping tranquilizers on hand should a horse become panicked during a crisis; ask your veterinarian what is available.