Part Four: After the Storm
Coastal Equine Services is committed to preparing our clients for the challenges that
arise from residing in a hurricane prone area. Our vets want to ensure you and your horse are safe and healthy after the storm.
With proper planning and preparation, you can help save lives. We continue this series with guidance for what to do after the storm:
1. Follow-up. If you horse was evacuated to an emergency boarding facility, call and verify that your horse was received and make sure you have all of their contact information.
2. If your horse stayed. As soon as possible, check on all the animals for injuries, illnesses and dehydration. Make sure all animals have adequate water.
3. Going outside. Be very careful as live electric wires could be all around you. Locate your animals and tend to any minor wounds. Check fencing and put up emergency fencing where needed. Carefully try to clean debris from the barn, and clear the driveway out to the road.
4. Check stalls. Make sure that they are clear of debris, water, and snakes before putting your horses back in them. Do NOT put your hands into places that you cannot see – snakes can be hiding in them!
5. Signs. Place one of the signs at the edge of your driveway, at the roadside, with the appropriate writing facing the road. Place the other sign in a clear area that is visible from the air so that aircraft flying overhead will be able to see it to determine if you need help. If you do not have a severely injured animal, put the “OK” sign up. If you need help, put your “NEED HELP” sign up and help will get to you as soon as possible.
6. Flooding. Keep horses out of flooded pastures and other areas as the water could be unsafe for drinking.
7. Fire ants and snakes. Ants and snakes will look for the driest place to nest and will move from wet to high ground when their nests flood. Check your barn/stall walls and feed/hay areas. Ants will also seek refuge from wet ground on fence rails and tree branches, so take care when clearing debris after a storm. Do not put your hands or feet in recesses you cannot see.
8. Fencing. Walk your property and check your entire fence line for damage and either repair it or put up emergency orange plastic construction fencing to keep your horses from getting onto roads or other potentially dangerous situations.
9. Feed. Don’t use feed or hay that is wet or has been in flood waters.
10.Found horses. If you find a horse in your pasture or yard that does not belong to you, carefully approach the animal. First, check for injuries at a safe distance. Then, if the horse will allow you to approach, do so with caution to check more closely for injuries, identification, and contact information. As you will have no way of knowing if the strange horse has any diseases or behavior traits that can be a threat to your horses, it is important to keep him away from your horses. Place the horse in a separate pasture, using emergency plastic fencing if necessary to keep the horse a safe distance from yours. Contact the owner as soon as possible. If there is no identification on the horse, contact your veterinarian to see if he can determine and read the micro-chip. Make sure the horse has plenty of clean water and clean hay until the owner can be found and the horse taken home or other arrangements can be made.
For additional information on Hurricane Preparedness, go to Markel’s Guide at: http://www.markelinsurance.com/~/media/ specialty/risk-management/safety%20guides/hurricane%20 preparedness.pdf?la=en Resources: College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University http://vetmed.tamu.edu/ American Association of Equine Practitioners - Emergency & Disaster Preparedness Committee http://awic.nal.usda.gov/companion-animals/emergenciesand-disaster-planning Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Brand Commission http://www.ldaf.state.la.us/ US Department of Agriculture http://awic.nal.usda.gov/companion-animals/emergenciesand-disaster-planning The purpose of these materials is to provide professionals with recognized safety procedures and precautions. These materials should be treated as general guidelines that could be adopted or modified to meet the specific demands of each facility. The authors do not warrant, guarantee, or ensure that compliance with these guidelines will mitigate or prevent any or all injury or loss that may be caused by or associated with any person’s use of facilities, equipment, or other items or activities that are the subject of these guidelines; nor do the authors assume any responsibility or liability for any such injury or loss. Further, the authors hereby expressly disclaim any responsibility, liability, or duty to those facilities, directors,and staff receiving these materials, and any facility clients or their families, for any such liability arising out of injury or loss to any person by the failure of such facility, directors, or staff to adhere to these guidelines.