Horse owners: prepare for floods
Horse owners need to have a plan if their horse facility is located in a low area, close to a stream or river, or in or near a flood plain. To prepare, take these steps:
- Have an evacuation plan (see below)
- Watch for down power lines
- Have an electrical generator and supply of fuel ready on higher ground.
- Scout for debris before returning horses to paddocks and pastures.
- Listen for reports of infectious disease outbreaks.
- Make sure your horse is identifiable if lost or stolen during the emergency. Permanent identifiers include photographs and written descriptions, brands, tattoos, and microchips. Temporary identifiers include washable paint, etched hooves, luggage tags with contact information braided into mane, and pastern bands.
- Remember that frightened animals are unpredictable. Even the gentlest horse can become dangerous when frightened. Take specific actions to avoid being placed in harms way.
Get the house ready first
The following is a list of essential items a horse owner should keep in or near their home and possibly in another location off the property as well.
- Human first aid kit
- Emergency kit with food and water for 3 days
- Important paperwork – see Red File: Your Grab and Go Case for Emergency Situations"
- Photos and written descriptions of all horses
- Extra halters and lead ropes
- Generator with enough fuel for 3 days
- Working flash lights
- Battery operated radio
Assemble an equine first aid kit
There are several pre-assembled equine first aid kits that can be purchased, or you can put together your own. Include:
- Vet's phone number
- Regional map
- Flashlight and batteries
- Unbreakable bowl
- Latex gloves
- Bandaging material (telfa pads, gauze, cotton sheet or roll, vetwrap, elasticon, tape, duct tape – best if inner layers are sterile)
- Antiseptic scrub and solution (e.g., betadine)
- Sterile saline
- Pliers (for pulling nails)
- Splint material (e.g., 6" PVC split in half lengthwise)
- Eye ointment
- Diapers or other absorbent pads
- Clean syringes (20cc or larger without needle)
View Equine first aid: what to have and how to use it to see what these materials can be used for and how to address specific emergencies.
Make sure boarders and other engaged with your facility know your evacuation plan. Put the plan in writing and post it. Consider the following:
- How will each horse be removed from the barn? Will they be lead individually or herded? In what order?
- Do you have spare halters and lead ropes located in an area away from the barn?
- Are there horses that need to be handled differently, such as stallions, foals, or elderly horses?
- Where will the horses go if the barn is damaged?
- Is there more than one exit from the barn? Horses are creatures of habit; practice using all exits occasionally.
- Will you be able to get food and water to the holding area?
- Can you trailer the horses if necessary?
- Has everyone involved in the horse facility practiced the evacuation plan?
- Do you know your neighbors or other horse owners in the area?
This was excerpted from Extension's Barn disaster planning publication. Please read that publication for more in-depth information on what you can do to prepare for an emergency.
Author: Betsy Gilkerson Wieland and John Shutske (2011)