- Posted by Cheryl Bennett
- On September 14, 2020
- 0 Comments
The peak of Atlantic Hurricane Season is right around the corner. For North Carolina horse owners, it means that we need to take extra precautions when it comes to our horses and farms, especially for the next couple of months. Think back to Hurricane Florence in 2018—the eastern part of our state was basically under water during the historic flooding. While we hope we’re safe from the once-in-a-century flood event we saw from Florence, it’s best to prepare for all possible scenarios. From vaccinations to trailer tires, luggage tags to insurance documents, here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
For your horse
With rain comes mosquitoes! Make sure your horse is up to date on his West Nile Virus vaccine, as well as his Eastern/Western Encephalitis vaccine. It’s also a good idea to make sure your horse has had a recent tetanus vaccine in the event of injury. If you’re planning on evacuating with your horse, check the vaccination requirements at the boarding facility before you head out.
Pack a binder:
Collect all of your horses’ records—vaccination records, registration papers, current health certificate and Coggins in one place, like a binder, so you’re not scrambling for essential documents if you need to evacuate with your horses. Consider scanning copies of the documents so you have digital access to them as well.
If your plan is to stay put, make sure your horse is identifiable in the event he escapes his enclosure. Consider braiding a luggage tag into his mane/attaching it to a breakaway halter, use a permanent marker or paint to put your name and phone number on his hooves, and/or put your name and number on his rump with livestock paint.
For the farm
Ready your supplies:
If you’re planning on riding out the storm, make sure you’re prepared with at least three days of supplies for your family and your critters. This includes feed, hay, water, first-aid supplies (for you and your animals), medications, fly spray, fuel for farm equipment, etc. Be prepared not only to lose power, but for the roads to be impassable for a period of time.
Batten down the hatches:
Getting ready for the storm means more than securing outdoor furniture, wheelbarrows, or other things that could be turned into projectiles by the wind. Take a look around your farm for precarious looking branches that might be hanging over the house, barn, fences, etc. Move your vehicles and horse trailers out of the line of danger of falling trees and powerlines. Take preventative measures so you don’t have extra cleanup after the storm.
Be ready for clean up:
If you’re in the path of a major tropical system, chances are good you’ll have some limbs down at the very least. Make sure you have plenty of clean-up supplies on-hand. You might need hammer/nails, extra wire, a chain saw, extra tractor fuel, chains, wire cutters, etc.
Protect your documents:
Even if you don’t live in a flood plain, consider preparing for water damage by protecting important documents. Put your farm insurance policy, life insurance information, important animal documentation, etc. in waterproof storage. Your waterproof storage doesn’t have to be fancy—gallon freezer bags work fine!
Have several plans:
If you’re planning on evacuating, have a Plan A, Plan B and maybe even a Plan C. Remember that a hurricane’s track can change right up until landfall. Though you should plan on completing your evacuation the day before projected landfall, it might take more than one trip to get all of your animals to safety. For a list of state-managed facilities that offer emergency board, click here.
Get your rig road-ready:
Having a road-worthy rig is more than just adding gas or diesel to your tank. Make sure your trailer floor is solid, your tires are in good shape, your lights work, your oil has been changed and the fuel tank is full. All this can be done well in advance of the hurricane making landfall—even if it looks like a tropical system is headed your way a week out, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…and no one wants to be stranded on the side of I-40 with a loaded trailer and a flat tire during evacuation efforts.
After the storm
After the wind and rain are gone, the clean-up is just beginning. First, check to ensure the presence and safety of your animals. Then, check for the safety and condition of their enclosure—are the fences still standing? Are there powerlines down? Is there flooding?
Try to tackle tree and limb clean-up as soon as possible after the storm passes. Remember, it’s still snake season this time of year and you don’t want to give any venomous slithering friends a place to hide.
If you do live in a flood plain, remember that the water level might continue to rise for a couple of days after the storm passes. Keep a close eye on your pastures, paddock and barn.