When it comes to extreme weather events or the possibility of an emergency animal disease outbreak, it’s not so much a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. Understanding the lifecycle of disaster resilience helps us to know what to expect and how to be prepared, respond safely, and recover quickly and effectively. Here are some resources to help you out.
It’s a lifecycle
Every year, somewhere in our region is impacted to some extent by a natural disaster – be it cyclones and floods, fires or earthquakes – and we all need to be prepared for the unexpected.
Our horse community is vulnerable to a variety of natural disasters and disease outbreaks. Being prepared is a critical aspect of minimising the effect of these emergencies, and leads to a faster and more effective response and recovery.
Being able to respond quickly and effectively to an emergency reduces the impact and stress of the event, and assists both us and our animals to recover more rapidly from the trauma.
Understanding the lifecycle of disaster resilience helps us to know what to expect and to be prepared, respond safely, and recover quickly and effectively.
At each stage there are different things to know, different actions we should take and different ways we connect with people. These stages can progress at varying rates and often overlap.
The four stages in the lifecycle of disaster resilience:
- Prevention activities reduce the impact of natural disasters and disease outbreaks through the identification and mitigation of risk. Such prevention measures can include maintaining appropriate vaccination schedules, good biosecurity practices on farm and at events, and property design. Eg, maintenance of drains and flood levies, and fire prevention activities.
- Preparedness is an ongoing set of activities in which people plan, prepare and train for emergency situations. This includes tasks such as establishing a ‘Stay or Go’ kit, making an evacuation plan, simulating disaster situations and training appropriate responses, and discussing emergency preparedness with our family, friends and neighbours.
- Response is the act of responding to the immediate needs of the emergency situation, whatever that may be. A well-rehearsed emergency plan developed during the preparedness stage enables more effective responses at all levels.
- Recovery involves activities and decision making necessary to restoring the affected area to its previous state or better. This includes not only the obvious rebuilding activities, but also undertaking a ‘lessons learned’ analysis to feed into the next stage…
It is a continuous cycle that revolves from one stage to the next without ever ending. The ‘recovery’ stage is the cue to begin future prevention.
So, what can we do right now?
If you have or haven’t been impacted by natural disasters recently, the following fact sheets and websites have a great deal of information to assist you in your response and recovery activities.
Some handy resources:
- Download the Queensland Horse Council fact sheet – Before the Fire
- Download the Queensland Horse Council fact sheet – During the Fire
- Download the Queensland Horse Council fact sheet – After the Fire
Flood & mud:
- Download the Queensland Horse Council fact sheet – Flood and your horse
- Download the Queensland Horse Council fact sheet – Flood and your horse property
- Download the Queensland Horse Council fact sheet – Mud management for horse operations
- Horse SA My Horse Disaster Plan
- Download the Queensland Horse Council Emergency Planning Workbook to help you develop a plan to suit your particular circumstances
- Download the Queensland Horse Council fact sheet – An introduction to Large Animal Rescue
- Why does my horse get scabby legs when it’s wet?
- Greasy heel, mud fever fact sheet
- Fencing Injuries and How to Prevent Them
Disaster resilience doesn’t happen by accident, so what can you do in the good times to make sure you’re ready when disaster strikes?
At a personal level you can:
- Sign up to your state/federal horse industry emergency contact database to ensure you receive timely and accurate horse industry related alerts.
- Sign up to a severe weather warning service smartphone app.
- Download a fire warning smartphone app.
- Download the Queensland Horse Council horse owner emergency planning workbook plus relevant fact sheets to help you assess your risks and make appropriate preparations for your own circumstances.
- Take a few moments to develop your own plan – it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ you will need it!