Being prepared for disasters is important for everyone. You don’t have to be a doomsday prepper to be prepared for severe weather or fires. If you are a farm owner, it may be more important, as you could lose more than just a building. You could lose your livelihood. If you have a farm you need a disaster plan to protect your animals, especially.
Why you should plan ahead of time
Like your household pets, your horses and livestock rely solely on your protection and care. Farm owners are familiar with the challenges that farm animals can pose. You know that the size of the animals and their shelter and transportation needs make them a particular challenge.
A disaster can happen anywhere and anytime. Danger can come from tornadoes and hurricanes, or even barn fires. Whether you will need to evacuate or shelter in place, having a plan already in place is invaluable. If you already know what you need to do, you will have a better chance to successfully protect your livestock.
Take the appropriate precautions now
It is not difficult to start taking precautions now to protect your property and your animals. First, create a list of emergency telephone numbers. The list should include your employees, neighbors, veterinarian, poison control center, local animal shelters and trailering resources, for example. It is also a good idea to include a contact person located outside the potential disaster area.
Prepare your animals ahead of time
All of your farm animals should have identification that is both easily visible and durable. Your poultry needs to have access to a higher area in which to perch, in case of flooding, especially if you are in a flood-prone area. It is equally important to review and revise your plan periodically.
You may need to shelter in place
Evacuation is not always a possibility, or even the best choice. In some situations, you may have to decide whether to confine your large farm animals to a shelter on your farm, or to leave them out in the pasture, depending on the disaster you are facing. There are many factors that should be considered in making that determination. While some animals may be safer in a barn, others may do better following their instinctual ability to protect themselves.
How safe is a pasture when I cannot evacuate?
Your livestock may be safer in the open pasture if your pasture is at least one acre in size, in order to allow your livestock to avoid blowing debris as much as possible. There are other conditions that should be met, as well, including the following:
- No exotic trees that can uproot easily
- No overhead power lines or poles
- No debris or possible sources of blowing debris
- No barbed wire fencing
How to plan for a barn fire
The most common disaster effecting farms is a barn fire. The first step is, obviously, to prevent them. In order to do that it is necessary to understand how barn fires usually start and then learn how to handle them, should one occur. You must remain vigilant at all times, because it only takes a few minutes for heat and smoke to destroy valuable equipment, and even worse, your horses and livestock.
If you have questions regarding disaster planning, or any other farm planning needs, please contact Wilcox Attorneys, PA online or by calling us at (479) 443-0062.
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