Disaster preparedness is important for all of us, including our pets and other animals in our care. That especially includes livestock. If you own a farm, you know that the size of the animals and their shelter and transportation needs make them a special burden. A disaster can happen any time, and anywhere. Danger can come from hurricanes and tornadoes, or even barn fires. Regardless of whether you need to evacuate or shelter in place, it is essential that you have a plan, so you can adequately protect your livestock. If you own a farm, you need a disaster plan for your farm animals.
Take precautions now
Start now by making a disaster plan to protect your property, your buildings, and your animals. Create a list of emergency telephone numbers, including those of your employees, neighbors, veterinarian, poison control, local animal shelter, animal care and control, county extension service, local agricultural schools, trailering resources, and local volunteers. Also, include a contact person outside the disaster area.
Be sure that every animal has durable and visible identification. Be sure that poultry have access to high areas in which to perch, especially if you are located in a flood-prone area. One of the best things you can do to protect your farm and your livestock is to make sure you frequently review and update your disaster plan, supplies, and information.
Sheltering in Place
In some cases, evacuation may not be possible. Instead, a decision must be made whether to confine your large farm animals to an available shelter on your farm, or whether to leave them out in the pasture. There are several factors that would need to be taken into consideration in determination which option is best.
Many owners believe that their animals are safer inside barns, but in some situations, confinement takes away the animals’ natural and instinctual ability to protect themselves. This decision should be based on the type of disaster and the security of the sheltering building. So, you need to survey your property for the best location for animal sheltering.
When is a pasture safe, if evacuation is not possible?
If your pasture area meets the following criteria, your large animals may be safer there, than being evacuated:
- No exotic trees that may uproot easily
- No overhead power lines or poles
- No debris or possible sources of blowing debris
- No barbed wire fencing
- Not less than one acre in size, so that livestock can better avoid blowing debris
Planning for a barn fire
Barn fires are actually the most common disaster, affecting livestock, on a farm. Preventing a barn fire is, obviously, the first line of defense. If you have a barn, it is crucial that you recognize how barn fires typically start and know how to deal with them. The most important thing, is remaining vigilant at all times. In just a few minutes of heat and smoke, thousands of dollar’s worth of saddles, bridles, hay, grain, and equipment can be lost, along with the barn itself. Preventing barn fires and being well prepared to deal with the possibility, can mean the difference.
If you have questions regarding farm disaster planning, or any other farm or business planning needs, please contact the Schomer Law Group either online or by calling us at (301) 337-7696.