Wildfire Preparation and Evacuation Tips For Horse OwnersTom
As fire seasons become more devastating, wildfire preparation and evacuation tips for horse owners becomes more important. We can’t just wing it, there are lives and livelihoods at stake!
With climate change advancing at alarming rates, being prepared for the worst case scenario is vital. Preparing and evacuating takes planning and practice to ensure to best results. Having an efficient plan that covers all possibilities increases the potential that you and your horse make it out alive. Here are wildfire preparation and evacuation tips for horse owners.
Wildfires Preparation and Evacuation Tips for Horse Owners
Wildfires have become much more destructive in recent years, making it the upmost importance for horse owners to be well prepared for an emergency.
Open Ventilation & Frost-Free Hydrants
It’s not just the fires we have to worry about, it’s also the smoke. Horses have large lungs with no way to filtrate the dangerous toxins from the smoke. Keep the horses safe with proper ventilation and reduce the amount of exercise when smoke is visible. Additionally, provide plenty of water and keep a close watch on the air quality index.
You can also keep your horses and property safe from wildfires by installing frost-free hydrants or dry hydrant connections to existing water sources. Keep a minimum of 33 yards of defensible space around the barn and/or house. During a fire consider generators or solar power to run pumps and appliances after the power goes out.
Steel and Tile Roofs
These types of roofs are more able to resist flames that are spread from cinders. Cinders are what often causes a fire from the ground floors, which is where flammable materials are often stored.
Xeric landscaping helps reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation. This type of landscaping can help reduce flammable vegetation around structures. Consider fire wise plants around your property to help protect against blowing cinders. There are no plants that are completely fireproof but some can help catch the fire and stop it from spreading too quickly. Avoid landscaping with mulches made from combustibles and placing plants too close to structures.
Evacuation plan for Wildfires and Horses
Having an evacuation plan for you and your horses is paramount. Every year the strategy should be reviewed and updated. Here are some evacuation tips for horse owners.
Evacuation Exit Route
Avoid leading horses down roads and highways. This is dangerous because it puts you and your horse at risk of being hit by passing cars or vulnerable to roadside fires. Instead, have your trailer hitched to your truck at all times loaded and ready to go with all the necessities.
If the fire is too close and there isn’t time to load, let the horses loose and close all the entrances and gates so they cannot re-enter. Ensure you are paying close attention to evacuation warnings as the come in.
Always be sure to pack water, medicines and foods in the trailer ahead of time. Keeping the trailer packed and ready to go will reduce the time it takes you to evacuate. Additionally, ensure you have all your travel documents and identification packed as well. This is especially important if you are being housed at a public shelter or private facility.
It is important to note that there are few horse clothing that are fireproof. Avoid synthetic and nylon halters, lead ropes and tack. This could cause serious burns to both the horse and owner.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice truly does make perfect, especially in this situation. Ensure your horse is comfortable loading onto the trailer in a rush. Constantly make sure that your trailer and truck are packed with the essentials. It is important to make sure you have an exit plan that everyone in the barn is aware of.
Practice the evacuation plan with everyone at the barn and find signs of weakness. Coordinate with local fire stations to get their input and ensure there are no flaws. An extra tip is to put evacuation plans all over the property so everyone can become familiar.
Wildfire preparation and evacuation tips for horse owners help but at the end of the day, it takes practice. Hopefully, you will never have to experience this emergency but it is always better to be prepared. Keep you and your horse safe by doing your research, staying up to date and having a seamless plan that everyone understands.