IF YOU HAVE HORSES, ASK YOURSELF NOW,
"WHAT IS MY PLAN DURING A HURRICANE?"
Disaster preparedness is important for all animals, but it is particularly important for equines because of the animals’ size and their shelter and transportation needs. It is imperative that you are prepared to protect your equine, whether by evacuating or by sheltering in place.
The leading causes of death of large animals in hurricanes and similar events are collapsed barns, dehydration, electrocution, and accidents resulting from fencing failure. In a slowly evolving disaster, such as a hurricane, leave no later than 72 hours before anticipated landfall, especially if you will be hauling a high-profile trailer such as a horse trailer.
If you determine it is not safe to shelter your equines at their home location, please research in ADVANCE facilities that may accept them. The Escambia County Equestrian Center may not be your best option or may not be open, depending on the path of the storm. Depending on your location and the projected storm's path, other equestrian and agricultural facilities may be options.
OPENING AS A HOST SHELTER
The Escambia County Equestrian Center, in times of severe weather in other parts of Florida and along the Gulf Coast region, can be opened for equine evacuees solely at the direction of the Escambia County Emergency Operation Center (EOC) to serve as an equine host shelter. This means that Equestrian Center staff will not be able to accept your horse until the EOC opens the facility for evacuations. No other animals beside equines will be accepted at the facility during evacuations. If the Pensacola and immediate area is Not in the probable path of the storm, you may contact us to inquire if the Equestrian Center is accepting equines evacuees. If Pensacola and the surrounding area are on the projected storm's path, please research and contact other equine evacuation facilities out of the area. Once the Equestrian Center receives the go-ahead to accept evacuees, the decision will be announced on local media outlets and Escambia County Equestrian Center's Facebook page.
As weather events are extremely fluid situations, double-check our opening status before leaving for our facility by contacting us or visiting the Escambia County Equestrian Center Facebook page for updates.
Stalls will be allocated on a first-come/first-served basis. Stalls may be reserved in advance with full payment only. No refunds will be given should stalls not be used.
All equines must have a halter and lead rope that stays with them. Staff will only go in stalls/remove horses from stalls in an emergency situation. Should you not leave a halter on your horse, your horse should be marked for identification in the event it should get loose from stall. This can be done with paint, mane wraps or in another way.
PRIOR TO STORM'S LANDFALL
All owners will be required to leave the facility prior to the storm’s landfall. Owners must take everything with them except what is to be left in stall. Anything left in the aisleways will be disposed of. Once the winds subside to safe levels, Equestrian Center staff will check stalls and fill water buckets as needed.
In the case of a medical emergency, Equestrian Center staff will call the vet listed on the Check In/Registration Form to provided us. Owners are responsible for any charges incurred and should make prior arrangements with their vets. If no vet is listed or if vet refuses to come, the facility bears no liability for any damage to horse caused by lack of medical care.
Horses must be removed no later than 72 hours after the emergency/storm has passed through. Horses that are not removed within 72 horses will either be turned over to animal control or the county livestock officer, and additional fees/fines may incur, or owners will be required to pay the normal stall rates.
Stall Fees (per stall) ***
*** Stalls fee rates may be adjusted by the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners during certain emergency events.
Shavings: $7/bag including tax (You are allowed to bring your own shavings.)
SHELTERING IN PLACE
If evacuation is not possible, a decision must be made about whether to confine their equines and livestock to a barn/shelter or leave them out in pastures. Owners may believe that their animals are safer inside barns, but in many circumstances, confinement takes away the animals’ natural instincts and ability to protect themselves.
Your decision should be based on the type of disaster, the type of sheltering structure you have as well the condition of your pasture . It is recommended to keep your horse in the pasture (at least one acre) during the storm if there is good fencing, limited trees, no electric or barbed fencing, and no overhead power lines. Keep your horse out of barns that are not safe.
The University of Florida Large Animal Hospital's Hurricane Checklist For Florida Horse Owners has additional tips.
Planning ahead makes the evacuation process less stressful on you and your horse.
Negative Coggins. Horses will NOT be accepted on the grounds without one. Visit www.fdacs.gov for state transport requirements and emergency travel updates
Halter and lead rope.
Feed pan and at least two water buckets.
Plenty of feed and hay
Manure fork and muck bucket
Hay bag or hay net (not mandatory, but helpful)
Hay bale bag (not mandatory, but helpful)
Water hose (not mandatory, but helpful).
Your Vet's contact information and horse's medical information
Some other helpful suggestions from the UF Large Animal Hospital
OTHER IMPORTANT CONTACTS:
Alabama Department of Agriculture: 344.240.7100 or 800.642.7761
BeReady Escambia /Escambia County Emergency Management Facebook Page
BeReady Escambia / Emergency County Emergency Management Web Page
Florida Department of Agriculture: 850.488.3022
Georgia Department of Agriculture: 404.656.3685 or 855.491.1432
Prepare a first aid kit
Practice loading your horse into a trailer
Locate farms or shelters in advance
Have phone numbers of the vet, insurance information and shipper (if necessary)
Keep medical records and other important documents such as a Coggins test and health certificate accessible
Make sure that your horse’s vaccinations are current (WNV, EEE, Rabies, Tetanus). Consider Equine Herpes Virus or the Flu vaccine if you plan to move your horse.
For identification purposes, take a picture of your horse and you with your horse
Label your horse, for example, luggage tag on halter, nontoxic paint or marker, clip information on side
Keep record of microchip number, tattoo number or brand
Move your horse from flood prone areas
Store all loose items on the farm, such as jump standards and cups, which can become dangerous projectiles in high wind
Have feed and water available: 12-20 gallons of water per horse each day and Large garbage cans with liners to store feed
Generator for well and fuel
Turn off the power to the barn
Do not put your horse in a pasture with power lines
Keep your horse out of barns that are not safe
It is recommended to keep your horse in the pasture during the storm if there is good fencing, limited trees and no power lines or electric fence
Emergency tools and supplies: hammer, nails, fence repair materials, wire cutters, tool box, pry bar, fire extinguisher, flashlights, batteries, and radio
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