Updated: Jun 2, 2020
Spring is a great time to review emergency plans and ensure you are prepared for any potential situations you could face at your farm or ranch. This week we are going to look at preparedness with animals!
First things first: Be aware of the specific risks to your community or region. This will help you evaluate what precautions need to be in place.
Plan to Shelter in Place – If you plan to remain on your property during an emergency situation you need to decide if you can confine animals in an indoor shelter or to leave them outdoors. If you are leaving animals outdoors you need to survey your property for the best location: native trees, no overhead power lines and limited sources for flying debris are all things to consider.
As is for humans, we need to ensure we have 72 hours of feed available to all livestock in case of emergency.
Plan to evacuate – If the situation escalates and it becomes recommended by your local emergency authority to evacuate there are many things to consider: Plan ahead and work within your community to establish safe shelters for farm animals, such as fairgrounds, other farms, racetracks, and exhibition centres. Ensure you have sufficient feed and medication and be ready to leave quickly. This could include ensuring you have appropriate transportation.
If you have to leave your farm ensure your electricity is turned off. Typically this is at your main power pole.
If you have to evacuate ensure all your animals have clear identification, this becomes even more important if you have to shelter at any communal properties such as fair grounds where animals from many farms may be turned out together.
Make your plan! Every farm and ranch is very different and will have individual requirements. Take the time to review all potential risks and how you would respond to them. This could also include an out of town contact person who is unlikely to be affected by the same emergency. Ensure all this information is written down and readily available for all family members.
Make a Kit! Every family, farm or ranch should have an emergency kit where all supplies are in one location and all family members and employees know where it is. This could include: Animal feed, animal medication, temporary identification for animals, first aid kit, handling equipment, water, feed, buckets, and any other emergency communication devices or items that are specific to your operation.
This can seem like a lot! But being prepared makes responding to an emergency situation in a timely and calm manner easier for everyone affected.
More information about creating an emergency plan for livestock is available online at: https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/