As residents of Southern California, we have grown accustomed to the dangers of wildfire season. As pet owners, it is important to have a disaster preparedness plan in place in case of an emergency. Horses and livestock require special considerations when planning for the event of a disaster. Fortunately, there are a number of things large animal owners can do to prepare in the case of an emergency or evacuation.
It is important to have up-to-date identification on all of your pets, including horses and livestock. Keep halters with an identification tag fastened to them with the following information: horse’s name, your name, telephone number, email, and another emergency telephone number(s) where someone can be reached. You can even get your horses microchipped! We also suggest keeping your animal's medical records on hand in a watertight envelope. Prepare a basic first aid kit that is portable and easily accessible. Be sure to include enough water (12 to 20 gallons per day per horse), hay, feed, and medications for several days for each horse.
If You Evacuate - Make a Plan
Make arrangements in advance to have your horse trailered in the event of an emergency. If you don’t have your own trailer or don’t have enough room in your trailer for horses, be sure you have several people on standby to help evacuate your horses. Do not store your hay in your trailers! It is highly flammable and will take hours to move in the event of an emergency. We also suggest making a backup plan with neighbors, friends, or relatives in case an emergency happens while you are not home.
3. If You Cannot Evacuate
We recommend creating a backup plan in case it’s impossible to take your large animals with you when you evacuate. Consider different types of disasters and whether your animals would be better off in a barn or loose in a field. Your local emergency management agency may be able to provide you with information about your community’s disaster response plans. Post detailed instructions in several places – including the barn office or tack room, the horse trailer, and barn entrances – ensuring emergency workers can see them in case you are not able to evacuate your horses yourself.
4. Stay Connected - Be Ready
It is important to know ahead of time what type of emergencies or natural disasters your area is prone to and plan accordingly. Get to know the emergency plans that have been established in your state and local government beforehand. Be ready to adapt to new information that may affect your circumstances. Listen to the radio and take every effort to follow instructions provided by the authorities and disaster relief workers. Follow all instructions provided by the authorities and disaster relief workers. If you are a resident of Ventura County, sign up for VC Alerts to have alerts sent to your phone and email when a disaster strikes.