Planning for Emergencies: Cyclones, floods and fires are an unfortunate part of Summer in Australia. Take some time to develop a safety plan and prepare a safety kit in case of emergency.
Here are some tips to help:
Think about where to go and how to get there. If you need to evacuate horses, how many float trips will it take? How much time will you need? Who is available to help you? Plan to leave feed in storage nearby long before the emergency arises.
If you elect to leave the horses at home, identify a suitable refuge paddock such as a very green or bare paddock in the middle of your property (for fires) or a high point (for floods) with good laneway and water access, have a clear plan about how and when animals will be moved.
In addition to the normal human emergency kits, set aside some fence cutters, animal first aid supplies, a torch, radio and spare batteries.
Be fire prepared
Control and remove weeds and debris, including slashing and spraying or ploughing along fences to create a bare soil fire break. Clear rubbish and debris regularly from around your property. Invest in and regularly maintain a petrol or diesel firefighter pump.
Make contact easy
If you have to release or abandon animals, attach your contact details to your animals for quick recovery. Plait a luggage tag in their mane or, better still, paint your name and phone number on the horse itself or its hooves using livestock grease crayons (like the ones used to number horses in endurance rides). Ensure your contact details are updated with microchip registers. Keep a contact list in a safe place recording phone numbers of all the people you may need during an emergency – vets, doctors, insurance companies, family, friends, local authorities.
Regularly check fire warnings, storm warnings and flood information during high-risk weather.
Protect the lives of yourself and your family, plan well ahead, be prepared and follow expert advice.
Check out Kirrilly Thompson’s 6 Ways to Improve Your Horse’s Natural Disaster Resilience.
Read about the life-cycle of disaster resilience.