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Emergency Preparedness & Horses

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  • #41
    Originally posted by LexInVA View Post
    I have been told that the VA Horse Council and the state Ag agency is in the process of trying to organize and formulate some sort of mass plan for dealing with horses during emergencies such as a hurricane, tornadoes, massive storm systems, and clearance sales at WalMart.

    Lex - contact RNB from this board for further info. I worked with her to put my farm on a "list" of placed people can bring their livestock.

    I'm pretty sure she's up to speed on everything. Virginia suspended the sales tax on emergency equipment in late May; but it's over.

    Anyway - contact RNB and I'm sure she can give you an update. I went to the website and was surprised that I couldn't find any info on this subject. Maybe I missed it.
    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
    -Rudyard Kipling


    • #42
      JSwan ~ I think you'd be the first person to have said I was 'up to speed'!! Maybe I'll at least get an "A" for effort! I apologize for not getting back to this thread. I was gone for almost a week and came home last Sunday to 100+ heat and NO a/c or computer or...... Needless to say it's been miserable!

      But to answer a few questions. Yes the VA Horse Council has been putting together a list of farms willing to help during a disaster. Thank you JSwan for filling out the form!! And you are correct, at this very moment there is nothing listed on the new website. I hope to change that within the next couple of weeks. We have redesigned, updated, changed servers and everything else imaginable regarding the site. In doing so, we ran into a few problems which have been worked out so we can now start adding info.

      The State Animal Rescue Team (SART) is in it's beginning phases. I honestly believe, if organized properly, this will be a good thing. NC already has an excellent program in place and VA is trying to copy what they have done. What is now needed are CART (County Animal Rescue Team) organizations...in other words local groups throughout the state. As far as I know there are only two CART groups. One is in my area, southeastern VA, and the other in northern VA. I believe my CART is a little further along in it's planning, etc. We have been meeting monthly since the first of the year. Meetings are open to everyone and we now have an ongoing list of people willing to help. We have divided up in to groups such as...commmunications, rescue, administration, etc. While some folks may not want to be the hands-on rescue types, there is a huge need for folks to do the admin work, ID-ing names, locating food, etc.

      The plan is...once the local CART groups are formed and organized they would report and work with the group on the state level. In a perfect world, should my area be hit by a hurricane our area CART would set-up a staging area to help with the displaced horses, people, etc. Prior to landfall we would be able to help folks get to 'safe' areas/barns/farms by contact of other CART groups throughout the state. Our contacts not only include farms such as JSwan's but vets, ferriers, people willing to trailer, hay and feed sources, etc. Other CART groups may also go to a hard hit area to assist.

      We have a meeting this coming Wednesday in Chesapeake and not only will I report to you guys what was discussed but also bring up at the meeting that the topic is being discussed here on COTH.

      One of the biggest obstacles is getting the information out to horse folks and having them get info to the organization. This is going to take some time but I believe it is a worthwhile undertaking.

      LexInVA ~ Where are you located in VA? Perhaps I can put you in contact with the group in Nor.VA.

      Wynne ~ It is my understanding that the SART group in FL is doing a good job as well. I just don't think as many people have heard of it as hoped. I can try and get contact info for you if you would like.

      As I think I mentioned in an earlier post, the most important thing a horse owner can do is have an emergency plan and be ready at a moments notice. If you wait until you need it....it's too late.

      Another thing I might mention. Many horse organizations have emergency contacts. Example: Our area is mainly made up of Hunters and we have quite a few large show barns. Because of this most of the barns evacuated to other show barns around the state.....they knew other show barns and contacted them in advance. If you happen to belong to a certain group ask if they know where one might go during an emergency. Never hurts to ask.

      Preparedness and communication are essential. However, no matter how organized an area might be I firmly believe every person must be prepared to go it alone.

      If you would like, I will be glad to start posting info that is discussed at the CART meetings.
      Debbie Hanson


      • #43
        I live in Fairfax County but I don't have any horses here. I would be interested in helping to organize the few folks here that do though. I was talking with one of the meeting attendees at the Frying Pan Park meeting and she told me that someone on the horse council was organizing something for the various regions. Here, all it would take is one big fire or storm to sweep through Clifton and parts of Prince William to give us a nightmare. To my knowledge, the county I live in doesn't have anything on the books for animals as far as disaster prep and recovery goes. The various animal rescue groups (LOST, HART, FOHA, FCHS) would be expected to handle whatever comes up.
        Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


        • #44
          Well, because I was such a b***h about it, I thought I'd report back on my trials and tribulations with emergency preparedness communication in the Horse Capital of the USA.

          I got an email listing the shelters a few days ago, but it ignored my complaint about the information not being on the Marion County website. Today, I got another email saying the person had passed my concerns along to someone. The email also gave me two other URLS--none from Marion County--indicating they "should be familiar to me since they are the ones noted in the public service announcements."

          WHAT public service announcements? And to think that this person thinks that should be ALL that is necessary to make sure everyone has vital information.

          I remain stunned, stunned, stunned that those URLS aren't screaming at you from the Marion County website, especially on the specific pages of the site that deal with emergency preparedness.

          My take home message is: Don't rely on others to safeguard you and yours. Be proactive and have your OWN plans!

          Still, I am very disappointed about this. I think I'll continue the battle--it's my tax dollars, too, after all.
          Sportponies Unlimited
          Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.


          • #45
            Originally posted by pwynnnorman View Post
            My take home message is: Don't rely on others to safeguard you and yours. Be proactive and have your OWN plans!
            That is a very good message for people to understand. Nationally, there is only one firefighter for every 280 people, only one EMT for every 325 people, and only one sworn officer for every 385 people. Since trained animal control officers and humane officers are generally the only ones allowed behind fire lines to help evacuate pets and livestock, I am sure the rescuer to horse number is even worse than this. The only way to ensure your safety is to prepare yourself and inspire your friends and neighbors to do the same.

            But since disasters don't have dates scheduled on the calendar, it's really easy for people to let those preparations slip. If I had a dollar for every canine Katrina evacuee whose owners told me "I just got his new tags but I didn't put them on yet" I'd be able to have a great night on the town.

            When you break it down, disaster preparedness is really very simple. Teach your horses to load, have collars and leashes for your dogs, and pillowcases for your small pets. Keep necessary medications handy. Microchip your pets and keep color photos of them (with you in the photo!) handy in case you are separated. Have extra food and lots of water, especially if you are on an electric pump. Know how you can reach friends and family if cell or internet service is down. Send copies of vital documents to a trusted friend in a different state or put them on a protected thumb drive in case your house falls down and you lose everything. Have a plan about which way you'd run/drive/ride and where you'd stay if the waters suddenly rise or the fires head your way. The rest is gravy.

            It's sad, and telling, to look at how many views this thread has compared to other threads. Disaster preparedness isn't often seen as a priority and is something that is uncomfortable to think about (or read about, I guess).
            Last edited by BLBGP; Jun. 17, 2008, 02:06 PM.