Developing a disaster response plan for horses requires additional thought and creativity. There are many things to consider: food, water, transportation, medical conditions, lodging, etc. You need to quickly and calmly assess a threat and implement an action plan without hesitation. Trying to problem solve at a time of high stress may lead to poor decision making and a less than optimal outcome. Use the guidelines below to help make your own customized disaster response plan.
Horse Owner Disaster Guidelines:
- Before a threat arises, identify those disasters that are most likely to occur where you live. This could be anything from wild fires, to hurricanes, to chemical spills. Your action plan will probably require some modification depending on the type and location of disaster.
- Pre-arrange alternative boarding agreements and plan an evacuation route.
- Create ID packets and make copies for each of your equine. Packets should include breed, sex, age, color, registration papers, microchip, eyed, or tattoo identifiers, health records, and current coggins and insurance information. Feeding and medication instructions for each horse should also be included.
- Identify locations where you can get emergency water or hay.
- Prepare an emergency first aid kit. Click to get a list of what should be in your equine first aid kit.
- Team up with another horse owner so you can pool resources like trailers, hay and water tanks.
- Keep your truck and trailer in good working condition. Have at least one spare tire for both truck and trailer and have gas cans full.
- Compile a 72-Hour Natural Disaster Kit For Horse Owners (as recommend by the AAEP)
- Plastic trash barrel with lid
- Water buckets
- Equine first aid kit
- Portable radio, flashlight and extra batteries
- Fire-resistant, non-nylon leads and halters
- Knife, scissors, wire cutters
- Duct tape
- Livestock markers or paint
- Leg wraps
- Lime and bleach/disinfectant
If You Can‚Äôt Evacuate Your Horses Before a Disaster
- If you do not or cannot move horses off of your property during a natural disaster, determine the safest place for them according to the type of disaster (flood, tornado, blizzard, fire, radiation etc).
- If disaster strikes before you can safely evacuate, paint your telephone number on the side of your horse. This can help in recovery efforts.
- Make yourself familiar with recovery websites and monitor them for your missing animals.
- It may be necessary during or after a disaster to call on professionals to help in rescue efforts. Have the numbers of your local or state horse rescue organizations programmed into your phone.
MERS Large Animal Rescue
Missouri:(636) 574-1700 or (314) 973-4921
SART (State Animal Response Teams)
Alabama: (334) 240-7278
Florida: (850) 410-0900
Pennsylvania: (717) 651-2736
Connecticut: (860) 693-9300
Main: (207) 287-7534
Rhode Island: (401) 222-4700
Horse owners that develop and practice their natural disaster plan have the best opportunity to evacuate early. When a disaster strikes, time can be of the essence. The ability to respond quickly gives you and your horses the best chance for a positive outcome.