Hurricane Season Preparation For Horses and Livestock
If you’ve lived through a hurricane before, you’ll understand what I’m about to describe. If you haven’t, let me break it down for you.
I’ve lived in South Florida for two and a half decades and in that time, I’ve endured a countless number tropical storms and hurricanes. The “calm before the storm” may be true to nature, however human beings
have a tendency for acting otherwise. I do believe that there is a stark contrast between thoughtful planning with purpose and purchasing in a last minute moment of panic. The latter is a common theme in Florida which requires law enforcement and security agencies to police grocery stores, gas stations, and the wholesale membership stores like Costco. The reason? Conflict avoidance in the midst of sales rationing governed by the retailers themselves. Many last minute buyers actually lose track of what the important purchases are and what is actually illogical. Its kind of like going to the grocery store while you’re hungry; the decisions to purchase certain items are likely to be more impulsive which creates a less efficient trip rather than a well thought-out shopping list that requires just a little bit of pre-planning. After all, how long does it take to create a grocery shopping list? A few minutes? Compare a few minutes to the amount of time it takes to hit the grocery store twice in one day.
While the age old ‘shopping while hungry’ story may not be the best analogy, the principle remains the same; A small amount of forward planning can yield remarkably better results. In more relevant context, creating a plan for your pets, horses, and livestock is actually very much the same. I enclosed the following tips from Beverly James’ blog post following Hurricane Irma in 2017. Beverly is the Director of Public Relations at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Before the storm:
- When the forces of a hurricane cause flooded conditions, livestock that are not in a confined area can usually take care of themselves. Still, do not let them become trapped in low-lying pens.
- Stock extra feed and water for the livestock. Water is essential. Thirsty animals will try to break out to get to flood waters. If water is in short supply, limit the livestock’s feed intake.
- Block off narrow passageways where animals would be unable to turn around. A few heavy animals in a narrow dead end can be dangerous not only to themselves but also to the buildings in which they are housed.
- Make provisions to block livestock from even remote access to herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers and treated seeds. Store agricultural chemicals and seeds where hurricane floodwaters will not contaminate livestock feed or water.
- Horse owners should clearly identify their animals, whether they evacuate or stay put. Keep paperwork and numbers in an easily accessible area. A zip lock bag with the horse’s name, owner information and farm information can be duct taped to the animal’s halter, or braid a luggage tag into the mane or tail.
During the storm:
- Turn off electricity at the main switch. Livestock could damage electric fixtures, causing fires or electrocutions.
- If there is a possibility that dairy barns may become flooded, drive cattle out of the barn. During the rapid rise of water, cattle often refuse to leave a barn and may drown if the water rises high enough in the barn.
After the storm:
- Do not go outside to inspect your livestock, property, or farm until the hurricane has completely passed. The winds may become briefly calm in the eye of the storm.
- Once the storm is over, carefully inspect each animal for injuries over the body, head, eyes, and limbs.
- The property should be inspected for down power lines and other storm damage. If your livestock is missing, contact the local animal control officer and/or the disaster response team.
Let’s plan together
Whether you reside down the road or across the water from us, we firmly believe that establishing a fully executable contingency plan which requires only one signal to us is critical in pre-hurricane planning or post-disaster recovery. Customers that currently have their emergency
plan in place rest assured that one communication enables the well coordinated and process of loading cargo and beginning the process of delivery. You might wonder why this is necessary! I’ll tell you…
Take St. Thomas, USVI post Hurricane Irma and Maria; The island had been rocked by TWO category five storms in September 2017 which obliterated all lines of communication for weeks – it took three months for 4GLTE and other wireless broadband to be restored! Southeast Hay had pre arranged shipments of building materials, fuel transfer tanks, clean up supplies, and food to ship in the weeks leading up to the first storm. Though we were unable to reach our client by e-mail or telephone, their shipments were on one of the first relief vessels out of Florida which arrived in a matter of days. What happened to those that didn’t plan? Well, for many individuals, becoming a victim of price gouging and getting stuck in government relief supply queues is all too common. For businesses, its a different story. Size is the strongest predictor of business continuity following a hurricane and after Hurricane Matthew hit Florida, 40% of small businesses in severely storm-impacted areas failed. When supply chains are damaged or fall apart, loss of revenue chokes the life from small businesses which are largely cash flow dependent. Planning ahead will mitigate much risk and help you sleep better at night – I promise!
If you need help building a hurricane kit and developing a plan to protect your family, home, or business, please feel free to contact me at Alex@southeasthay.com.
Southeast Hay Distributors, Inc.
To check out Beverly’s full Blog Post, please click here.