Large Pet Disaster Plan

How do you look in the eyes of a child and their pet, knowing you made no plans to save them? Large animals depend on you to survive. You may recover from the disaster but how do you live with the memory in their eyes as you leave the horse behind? Animals are family members too!                                                                                                                                             (Maintain vehicles with full tank of gas & cash for emergency)


Looking for higher ground

Find a pasture and shelter up on a hill. Make a written agreement with the owner that you can take your horse there in case of a disaster. Sign a waiver, you won’t hold them  responsible if something happens. Prearrange an evacuation site for your family and animals outside your immediate area if needed. If you don’t have enough trailers to transport all animals to an evacuation site quickly, contact neighbors, local haulers, farmers, producers, or other transportation providers to establish a network of available and reliable resources that will provide transportation in the event of a disaster. Designate a friend or neighbor willing to tend to your animals, give them a key to everything on your property, make sure they are familiar with them; know where your evacuation supplies are kept plus any other information. Pre-sign a letter that releases them from responsibility if one of your animals becomes injured during the evacuation. Have on file at your veterinarian office, a pre-signed veterinary medical treatment authorization form, to go into the Evacuation kit.  It’s not if a disaster is going to happen but are you ready with a plan when it happens? It could be a fire, hurricane, wind storm, flood, or trees falling from lightening, anything. You could have to go to hospital quickly, who has permission to go on your property and take care of the animals? It’s your responsibility to protect the family and animals. If it’s not safe for you, then not safe for animals. Shelters and rescue groups do their best to help in a disaster, but unless you prepare ahead things could get bad for your animals. It’s important to socialize them so they feel safe around strange people who are trying to help. Many animals get frighten and run away and never found, they could have been saved if only the owners realized the importance of getting them familiar with different things.


Plan an Easy Access to Your Property:

Recommend 20-ft gate, for a fire truck or commercial trailer.

Need 13 ft. 6 inches vertical clearance for tree clearance and archway entrance.

Make a gravel entrance, before your gate and let it continue making a road to property.

This is very important so a heavy truck won’t get stuck trying to save your animals.

Use ¾ inch crusher run gravel to make a road because it hardens like cement.

(Fire Marshall’s recommendation. Thank you so much, Tom Bender)

Assess the stability and safety of barns and other structures, promptly remove dead trees, and minimize debris in the fields and immediate environment.


Information needed ahead:

Assemble an equine evacuation first aid kit (Make an appointment with you veterinarian for items needed)Need: Proof of Ownership. * Copies of registration or adoption papers and proof of purchase. * Current picture of the animal with you. * Make-up waterproof “Lost Pet” signs that include all needed information. * Name and phone numbers other than home to contact, veterinarian name and phone number, distinguishing characteristics in a detail “Animal Profile” typed out and laminated, microchip or tattoo numbers (be sure to register and keep info. Up-dated)  If you don’t have any identification numbers on horse then keep on hand a clipper to shave information in the animals hair. Can use a livestock marking crayon non-toxic, non-water-soluble spray paint or markers to write on the animal’s side. Can use a permanent marker to mark hooves also have a luggage tag with information on it to braid into the horses mane or tail. * Medical history * Keep information stickers on front and back doors, barn doors, and pasture entrances to notify neighbors, fire fighters, police and other rescue personnel that animals are on your property. Include their favorite hiding places in order to save precious rescue time, where to find your evacuation supplies. (This is so important if you aren’t at home when something happens. Have a copy in the barn and beside your phone in the house.)

Food Supplies Needed: Plan to have at all times extra food and water source for 7 days.                                                                     


{Designed by- Patricia Johnson for The Chatham County Health Dept. Advisory Board}