Horse owners need to prepare an emergency horse evacuation plan for when disaster strikes along with a horse evacuation checklist for times of crisis. An emergency could be a wildfire, flash floods, landslides, or another natural or manmade disaster.
It's best to prepare sooner rather than later for several different evacuation situations. The scenarios can be based on where you keep your animals, disasters that have hit your area in the past, and changes to the climate and surrounding landscape that could affect you and your horses directly.
Horse Evacuation Identification Information
First off, make sure each animal you own is identifiable (microchips, tattoos, etc.) and that you've recorded all of their vital statistics like age, breed, name, sex, and markings.
Next, ensure that you've stored your horses' identification documents in a safe place and have physical and digital backups of the documents. Inform trusted neighbors or people you'll rely on in times of emergency where they can access these documents.
You'll also want to include your horses' veterinary records with pertinent medical conditions like allergies and injuries and list multiple contact numbers and emails for you and others responsible for your animals' well-being. Again, have physical and digital copies (online, flash drives, etc.) of these records stored in secure, waterproof areas and folders.
You can attach horse identification tags to halters or manes with emergency information as well. Also, consider using horse ID collars to provide your horses with an additional level of emergency identification security during an evacuation.
Rehearse Your Equine Emergency Evacuation Plan
Rehearse your equine emergency evacuation plan(s) based on the most likely disaster scenarios you'll have to contend with. Practice quickly and safely loading your animal onto a trailer in daytime and nighttime and various weather conditions.
If a neighbor or animal-care service is going to trailer your horses, involve them in your practice runs as well. Make sure third parties know where they can access emergency horse supplies and contact information.
Prep several locations where you can release your horses if unable to properly evacuate them farther away. For example, a spot away from trees and near a body of water during a fire. Check with local authorities about possible emergency shelters in your region, and include these locales in your watertight emergency binders or folders.
Keep and provide copies of your horse evacuation plans and back-up plans for yourself and others whom you might have to rely on. Update these plans as needed and make sure your friends and neighbors are updated as well.
You can post your emergency plans in several locations around your property (offices, stables, entryways, etc.) to help emergency personnel or Good Samaritans on scene who might not be keyed into your plans.
Prepare a Horse Evacuation Checklist
Prepare a horse evacuation checklist based on the emergency scenarios you're likely to encounter. When it's time to evacuate, people tend to move about frantically. A horse evacuation procedure will let you and the people helping you stay focused on each item you need to take care of.
Your checklist should include all of your horse evacuation plan preparations, as well as essential supplies for your horses like water, buckets, feed, and hay. Include where these supplies are stored so others can find them easily. Keep an equine first aid kit nearby to take on the go just in case.
By setting up your emergency horse evacuation plans and checklists now, along with rehearsing how to evacuate your animals, you'll be ready to handle almost any crisis if and when the time comes.