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Katharine Lotze photo / SCV Signal

Katharine Lotze photo / SCV Signal

Gibson Ranch photo

trailer. If your horses are unac- customed to being loaded onto a trailer, practice the procedure so they become used to it.

Your evacuation plan. • Make arrangements in

advance to have your horse trail- ered in case of an emergency. If you do not have your own trailer or do not have enough trailer space for all of your horses, be sure you have several people on standby to help evacuate your horses. • Know where you can take

your horses in an emergency evacuation. Make arrangements with a friend or another horse owner to stable your horses if needed. Contact your local animal care and control agency, agricultural extension agent, or local emergency management authorities for information about shelters in your area. • Inform friends and neighbors

of your evacuation plans. Post detailed instructions in several places—including the barn office or tack room, the horse trailer, and barn entrances—to ensure they are accessible to emergency

workers in case you are not able to evacuate your horses yourself. • Place your horses’ Coggins

tests, veterinary papers, identi- fication photographs, and vital information—such as medical history, allergies, and emergency telephone numbers (veterinar- ian, family members, etc.)—in a watertight envelope. Store the envelope with your other important papers in a safe place that can be quickly reached. • Keep halters ready for your horses. Each halter should include the following informa- tion: the horse’s name, your name, your telephone number, and another emergency tele- phone number where someone can be reached. • Prepare a basic first aid kit

that is portable and easily acces- sible. Be sure to have on hand a supply of water, hay, feed, and medications for several days for each horse you are evacuating. • There may be times when

taking your horses with you is impossible during an emergency. So you must consider different types of disasters and whether your horses would be beter off

in a barn or loose in a field.

Barn fires: Preventing barn fires and being prepared in the event of a fire can mean the difference between life and death for your horses. Knowledge of the danger of fires and how to deal with them are of the greatest impor- tance and should be an ongoing concern to horse owners. Fire prevention is key: • Keep aisles, stall doors, and

barn doors free of debris and equipment. • Mount fire extinguishers

around the stable, especially at all entrances. • Have a planned evacuation

route for every stall in the barn. Familiarize employees and horse handlers with your evacuation plans. • Prohibit smoking in or

around the barn. A discarded cigarete can ignite dry bedding or hay in seconds. • Avoid parking tractors and

vehicles in or near the barn. Engine heat and backfires can spark a flame. Also store other machinery and flammable mate- rials outside of the barn. • Inspect electrical systems reg-

ularly and immediately correct any problems. Rodents can chew on electrical wiring and cause damage that quickly becomes a fire hazard. • Keep appliances to a mini-

mum in the barn. Use stall fans, space heaters, and radios only when someone is in the barn.

• Be sure hay is dry before stor- ing it. Hay that is too moist may spontaneously combust. Store hay outside of the barn in a dry, covered area when possible.

When barn fires happen: • Immediately call 911 or your local emergency services. Keep that number clearly posted. • Do not enter the barn if it is

already engulfed in flames. If it is safe for you to enter the barn, evacuate horses one at a time starting with the most accessible horses. Be sure to put a halter and lead rope on each horse when you open the stall door. Be aware that horses tend to run back into burning barns out of fear and confusion. Blindfold horses only if absolutely necessary. Many horses will balk at a blindfold, making evacuation more difficult and time consuming. • Move your horses to pad- docks close enough to reach quickly but far enough from the barn that the horses will not be affected by the fire and smoke. Never let horses loose in an area where they are able to return to the barn. • Aſter the fire, be sure to have

all your horses checked by a veterinarian. Smoke inhalation can cause serious lung damage and respiratory complications. Horses are prone to stress and may colic aſter a fire. More online: htp://

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