This information sheet is primarily intended to assist animal owners in pre-panning the safe evacuation of their animals in the event of a serious emergency. More detailed information is accessible through the links provided at the bottom of this page.
While not all emergencies can be accurately predicted, some phenomenon such as hurricanes, seasonal fire dangers and floods often come with some warning. Here are some suggestions so that you can more effectively deal with expected as well as unanticipated emergencies.
General Personal Preparedness.
When an emergency strikes it's often too time consuming to struggle with decisions as to what to take when evacuating. Pre-planning almost always produces much better results.
Take some time and take stock of the transportable household items that are most important to you - critical documents, the lap top computer, portable PC backup drive, irreplaceable photographs, heirlooms, etc. Prepare a list of those items and where they are located. Divide the list into categories: critical, highly important, important and desirable. Tape the list to the inside of a closet door or similar location where it will always be immediately accessible.
If you have sufficient time, you may be able to remove all of these items when you leave. If the threat is immediate and you have to "load and go," you may only have time to remove your highest priority items. In that case you may need to think like a burglar, throw a sheet across a bed, place the items in the sheet, tie up the corners and haul everything out in one trip.
If you have household pets, include such needs as pet food, water, food and water containers and similar necessities on your emergency list.
Get in the habit of keeping your vehicles filled with fuel. Evacuating into a vehicle that is nearly on empty could produce a critical failure since normal sources for gasoline and diesel fuel may not be accessible.
Keep your premises tidy and free of dry vegetation and debris that could easily catch fire if windblown embers drop onto your property. An often forgotten risk involves rain gutters that collect leaves and flammable debris. Having a fire-safe property may allow you greater time to organize and evacuate, and it could make the difference as to whether your home and outbuildings survive or fall victim to a fire or similar disaster.
Make sure access to your property is sufficient for emergency vehicles of all sizes. Fire crews are likely to pass up your home for one that is more defensible if they can't get up your driveway.
Make sure your address (street number) is easily identifiable from the street. Rescuers can't waste time looking for poorly displayed addresses, particularly when visibility is bad.
Keep horse and livestock trailers serviceable at all times. Oftentimes trailers that aren't used a great deal suffer from tires that lose air pressure over time and floors that become unsafe. Make a habit of checking trailers at least once a month if they aren't being used. (During fire season we even keep one of the stock trailers hitched to the spare pickup. If we have to evacuate or render aid to the neighbors, we're ready to go.)
If you have large animals but don't have a trailer, or if you have more animals than you can relocate yourself, find out how to call for evacuation assistance before an emergency occurs. During an emergency it is oftentimes difficult to locate the resources that you need.
Keep animal halters and similar equipment in locations where they can always be found on an instant's notice without having to dig through piles of supplies. (We hang halters on the barn walls with name tags over the halters and also sewn onto the halters so anyone helping remove horses can immediately retrieve the correct equipment.)
Find out in advance of an emergency where your livestock can safely be relocated. Relocation points may simply be a friend in an uninvolved area who has sufficient space, or you may need to take your animals to a receiving area where they can be properly corralled during the emergency. As the emergency advances, authorities may not allow the time necessary to load and remove animals, so plan your relocations early if your animals are threatened.
Nighttime removals are particularly tricky, even for response teams having nighttime capabilities. Furthermore, law enforcement personnel are less likely to permit animal evacuations after dark. Plan to remove your animals well before dusk and consider that in a significant emergency, it could take far longer to evacuate than you would expect due to emergency conditions, road closures, etc.
One scenario presented during FEMA training involves a livestock sheltering operation that includes 20 bay mares belonging to various citizens. How do we ensure that we are reuniting an animal with the correct owner? The issue presented in this scenario could apply to any species of animal.
If you have crates for smaller animals, you should write your name and mobile telephone numbers on the crates using an indelible marker. Make sure that your dogs are wearing collars and their dog licenses.
Most large animals can be identified using a livestock marking crayon. We recommend writing your mobile phone number with area code prominently on the side of livestock along with any other information that you feel is appropriate.
Animal marking crayons are inexpensive and can be obtained at most farm and feed supplies or on-line. While animal rescue volunteers will do their best to mark animals that they pick up or receive, your best assurance involves marking them yourself.
Nevada is a brand inspection state. Anyone transporting livestock from one inspection district to another is required to carry a transportation permit for those animals being transported. The Department of Agriculture provides what is known as a "lifetime" Horse Transportation Permit. The permit is a laminated card that has a photo of the horse on one side and identifying information and the horse's owner of record on the other. A Horse Transportation Permit is akin to a driver's license for humans for the purpose of identification.
Sample Horse Transportation Permit