Hurricane Irma is setting her sights on the South Eastern coastline while our friends in Texas are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. If you find yourself in need of evacuating your horses and family, here are some tips and resources you may find helpful. Please, PLEASE plan ahead — this storm is shaping up to be bigger and more damaging than last years.
S.C. & Tryon Area Evacuation Facilities:
FENCE – Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (firstname.lastname@example.org / 828-859-9021)
Harmon Field, Tryon N.C.
Highfields Aiken S.C. – FULL as of 9/4/17
S.C. Equine Park – Camden: (Mike Mathis 803 486-4938, 1 time flat fee $25 per stall for evacuee stabling (not per day), shavings 5.50 per bag – please strip stalls upon departure.)
Western N.C. Agriculture Center / Fair Grounds -Asheville
Hurricane Preparedness Tips:
1. Have a plan of action ready. Are you or your horses in a low lying area prone to flooding? Where are the evacuation facilities? Have you called and reserved stalls? Are the Coggins tests up to date? How many trips will you need to make to evacuate? If more than one trip is necessary make a plan of which animals will travel together. be sure to plan ahead and keep informed if there is potential for you to be trapped in the event of bridge closure.
2. Coggins – Locate and make sure your horses Coggins test is current, public evacuation facilities will not accept horses without a current Negative Coggins test. If you need yours updated before the storm, ask your vet for a Health Certificate while he is pulling the Coggins test. Health certiciates are required paperwork to cross state lines with your horse.
3. Identification – Be sure to have at least one or two forms of identification for your horse, such as a bill of sale, Coggins test, Health certificate, registration papers or inter-state passport.
4 . Hay, Grain & Water – Make sure to stock up on your animals’ hay and grain. Evacuation is stressful enough on everyone without having to stress over finding a feed similar to what your horse eats. A 7-day supply is recommended in the likelihood of major storm damage. If your horse is fussy about water at new locations, consider stocking up with a few large well marked water containers. Electrolytes are also good to have on hand, as is regular salt to entice finicky horses to drink unfamiliar water.
5. Travel – Be sure to look over your truck and trailer for road worthiness if they have not been used in a while. Be sure to fill up your vehicles with fuel and check tire pressure in advance of the storm. Consider packing essentials in the trailer until the threat of evacuation has passed. This will make evacuation easier and less stressful if everything is already packed.
In the event you are unable to relocate or evacuate:
1. Water – Power outages are very common in storms and can be out for several days to several weeks. Be prepared! Be sure to fill up every available bucket, muck bucket, plastic storage crate and water trough to make sure you will have an adequate supply in the event of long term power loss. Consider lining large trash cans with heavy duty contractor trash bags and filling with water if needed. Horses generally consume 12-30 gallons per day, if you have access to a generator to run a well be sure to have fuel on hand. To purify water, add two drops of chlorine bleach per quart of water and let stand for 30 minutes.
2. Feed – Make sure you have at least a week of hay and grain and that it is stored up off of the ground away from flooding risk. Consider stacking several pallets together and storing hay and feed on the raised pallets, making sure they are covered and secured with waterproof tarps.
3. Secure all movable objects – Lawn furniture, jumps, kids toys and farm equipment so they don’t become displaced in the event of high winds. Secure all gates and consider cutting power to the barn if the power goes out.
4 Identification – Use a livestock marker to write your phone number on your horses side in the unlikely event that you are separated from your horses. Another idea would be to lightly imprint phone numbers onto one of your horses hooves.
5. Tool & Emergency Kit – Make sure your equine first aid kid is up to date & that your barn tool box is stocked with items you may need. Things like fuel for the chain saw, hammer and nails for fence repair, and duct tape would be essential, for more ideas on what to keep in your tool & first aid kits check out the link below.
For more information on creating an evacuation plan and ideas on how to be organized please visit the North Carolina Department Of Agriculture’s Article on Horse & Horse Farm Hurricane Preparedness.