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National disasters such as flash floods, tornados, snow storms or wild fires, and man-made problems such as gas explosions, leaking tank cars, and terrorist incidents can happen with little or no warning. The nature of the emergency may determine whether to shelter in place or evacuate.
Developing an effective personal emergency plan, coupled with predetermined holding facilities, may allow you enough time to move your horses to safety. If you are unprepared or wait until the last minute to evacuate, emergency management officials may tell you that you must leave your horses behind. Once you leave your property you have no way of knowing how long you will be kept out of the area.
Do not count on others to rescue your animals. Being prepared for an emergency evacuation in important for all animals, but it takes extra consideration for horses because of their size and their transportation needs. Horses can panic when they smell smoke. If you delay evacuation until fire danger is imminent, you may not be able to control and load your horses.
To avoid this situation, the following information and suggestions are offered to help plan for emergencies:
1. Familiarize yourself with the types of disasters/emergencies that could occur in your area. Develop a written plan of action for each. Review your plan regularly with everyone involved including friends and neighbors. Post emergency numbers in a visible location in your stable or barn.
Plan an escape route for taking your horses to safety.
If you do not have a trailer or enough trailers for evacuation, make arrangements in advance to have your horses trailered in case of emergency. Develop a community plan with call-up lists for assistance.
Find several alternative locations and check entry requirements. If you have no other safe place, contact your local fair grounds.
2. Look at your property and identify the best location for animal confinement for each type of disaster, should you be unable to evacuate them. Identify food and water sources that do not rely on electricity – disaster cause power outages – water pumps and automatic waterers stop working. Have standby water storage for 48 to 72 hours.
3. Photograph the left and right sides of each horse as well as face and medial and lower legs. Have a photo of your horse with you in the picture, to help identify the horse as yours when picking it up from an evacuation area...
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