Creating an emergency plan is crucial. With the unpredictable weather conditions across the nation and seeing the damage from Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey, breaks my heart. To see so many people with damaged homes and properties with no where to go is heartbreaking. On top of their homes and possessions damaged, they have to take care of their pets on top of that. After seeing this devastation, I think every household, and every horse farm especially, should have an emergency plan.
It’s important to have a plan that quickly and safely moves animals and people out of the barns. Everyone in the barn should be aware of the emergency plan and if possible, practice the plan once a year. Here are some tips/things to consider when setting up your plan:
- First thing to think about it how you will remove the horses from the barn. Do they each need to be indicidually lead or herded out? Where will you keep them once they are outside of the barn? Designate a pasture to put them in before you move them, or lock them outside in their turnout runs if possible.
- If there is a fire at your facility; plan a safe place away from the barn to put your horses. Be sure to consider if certain horses need to be separated from the others such as stallions or bullies in your horse barn.
- Keep spare halters and leads somewhere outside of your barn. You may need these in case of emergency.
- If you have enough to transport your horses, do you have enough trailer space to move all of your horses? If you can’t transfer all of your horses, have a backup such as a friend or another horse barn with another trailer that can help transport.
- Have a safe place set up where you have spoken with the owner about bringing your horses there. If you don’t have a friend’s property to bring your horses to, try contacting local racetracks, fairgrounds, show grounds or stockyards. They may be willing to let you put your horses there temporarily. But set this up beforehand, don’t show up there with your horses and expect them to have stalls available.
- If you have time, be sure to identify your horses. You can either use washable paint on their skin, a sharpie and write on their hooves, or braid a luggage tag into their mane.
We all say to ourselves when we see disasters on TV; “oh that won’t happen here”. But instead of thinking that, at least get an emergency plan together in case something like that ever does happen to your facility so you can be ready for it, and not scrambling. That way both you and your beloved horses will be safe!