Hurricane season is here, and it’s important to be prepared to minimize stress and make sure everyone stays safe. Developing a plan in advance will help eliminate split-second decision-making and hopefully avoid making mistakes or forgetting something. Here are some important things to remember for each part of the storm and some tips to keep your horse safe.
Before the Storm is even on the radar, you should have a plan of what conditions you will evacuate in and where you plan to go. Make sure to know what route you will take and confirm that the desired destination will be available to welcome you. It is a good idea to do a safety check on the trailer and put printed driving directions, coggins, vaccine records and your emergency animal care first aid kit in the truck or tack room of the trailer. Feel free to come back to your plans as you approach a potential hurricane for any last-minute revisions or just to review. Emergency plans for you and your family should be updated yearly for the most effective results.
Make sure your horse has two forms of identification; one permanently on their body (microchip/tattoo) and a temporary, readily visible one that can be attached in the event of a storm. If evacuating, leave at least 72 hours before the storm hits.
If you are unable to evacuate, consider whether you’ll be keeping your horse in an open field or in a barn, bearing in mind power lines, barn structure, trees, and any debris that could pose a risk. Remove any debris from your property. If the farm is subject to flash flooding, turn the horses out so they do not become trapped in rising water. Keep two to three weeks of hay and feed in airtight containers and as high up as possible. Store clean water in advance, and have emergency supplies like flashlights ready. Make sure to follow the equine identification suggestions above.
After the storm, when it’s safe to do so, clean up any debris and damage that might have occurred during the storm. Be sure to replenish any supplies before the next hurricane.