Hurricane Preparation

— Written By

Hurricane Matthew is churning away and could be headed to NC. No one knows which way he’ll head and what, if any damage we’ll have. But now is the time to prepare for whatever he might throw at us. These same suggestions can be used to be prepared for any time of disaster – natural or manmade. Although these ideas were written with horses in mind, they can be tailored to fit any animal. The following suggestions are from the Equine Disaster Response Alliance which is a collaborative effort between groups representing the equine industry and horse owners.

How to Prepare for a Disaster

  • Be familiar with the types of disasters that can occur in this area and develop a written plan of action for each
  • Keep a stock of hay, grain, water, medications and veterinary supplies
  • Decide where you will take your horses if evacuation becomes necessary
  • Keep your horses’ vaccinations and boosters up-to-date
  • Compile all important documents in one location. This should include:
      • Registration papers
      • Medical history, dosages and types of medications/health products required
      • Dietary requirements
      • Current Coggins test
      • Photographs (left & right side, face, medial and later lower legs as well as a photo of you with your horse)
  • Train your horse to load and unload

Marking Horses

Make ID tags such as luggage tags for your horse. On each tag, clearly write your name, address, phone number, horse’s description, feeding instructions, special needs and your vet’s name and phone number. Attach the tag to the halter with duct tape or braid into mane or tail. Do not tie around the tail. Permanent identifications methods, like tattoos, brands, microchips, work well. Small clippers can be used to clip your phone number onto your horse’s neck. An auction crayon can be used to write your number on him. Spray painting the hooves will also help identify the animal.

Items to Have in Case of an Emergency

  • Photographs, registration papers and medical records for each horse
  • Enough hay, geed and water to last three or more days
  • Halter and lead for each horse with the horse’s name on the halter
  • Medications and veterinary supplies
  • Extra feed buckets
  • Extra bedding, pitchforks, shovels, and a wheelbarrow
  • Portable first-aid kit
  • Map and list of phone numbers (veterinarian, transporter, insurance company, etc)

The following information was obtained from a University of Florida Extension Publication.

Here are some things to do before the storm.

  • Make sure you have adequate water stored for all animals
  • If you have large numbers of animals, make sure you have a generator that it is operational and plenty of fuel to run it
  • Keep chlorine bleach on hand because contaminated water may be purified by adding 2 drops of chlorine bleach per quart of water and then letting stand for 30 minutes
  • Store at least 72 hours (7 days is best) of hay and feed. Cover hay with waterproof tarps and store grain in water tight containers.
  • Store lawn furniture,etc to prevent them from becoming projectile objects
  • Place large vehicles and tractors in open fields to prevent tree damage
  • Turn off electrical power to barn and other outbuildings
  • Make sure you have emergency tools on hand such as chain saw and fuel, hammer and nails, fence repair materials, fire extenguisher.

After the storm has passed, you should address this checklist.

  • Inspect animals for injuries and treat appropriately
  • Walk through pasture to access and repair any fence damage and remove any debris that could be harmful to animals
  • Look for and report any downed power lines
  • Take pictures of storm damage
  • If any animals are missing, contact animal control

Here are some additional thoughts from Jason Cleere, Texas Agri-Life Extension Service Beef Cattle Specialist:

  • Large numbers of animals not capable of being evacuated by trailer should be moved to high ground. Open gates to pastures as cattle and other livestock instinctively seek higher ground
  • Avoid putting animals in barns or other dwellings due to potential high winds. Turn them out into large lots, pens or pastures.
  • If evacuating animals by trailer, make sure tires are properly inflated and flooring is in good condition. Don’t overcrowd.
  • Prior to leaving the ranch, pick up debris that might become high-wind hazards. Strap down feeders, trailers and other items that might blow into a barn, home or other dwelling.
  • Ensure adequate feed and water for a couple of weeks are available. Cattle may become stranded or forages ruined. Supplemental feed may be necessary.

Here are some additional resources:

Picking Up After the Storm

Hurricane Preparation for Horses and Horse Farms