Almost every website has the rules to follow for evacuation for what ever the situation maybe. I think by now we are all aware of the fact that we need to have an evacuation route, supplies, identification, pictures etc. The following information contains ideas and suggestions to consider before, during and after a major fire event has occurred.
When you plan, always consider the worst possibility.
and worst of all IT’S DARK OUTSIDE!
LEARN TO BE SELF RELIANT FOR AT LEAST 72 HOURS.
PREPARATION FOR A FIRE:
Much of this information will apply to flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, freezing weather and mudslides.
Review your own situation carefully. Consider all of the items that you feel are necessary to sustain your family, residence, property, out buildings, livestock and pets etc. Decide what you would need to maintain the above at a basic critical level during an emergency. Next to your telephone (all phones and don’t forget the barn) keep a written list of supplies and their location.
Keep emergency supplies and fire-fighting equipment in a location that should always be accessible. Do not use these tools except for an emergency, and keep them in good working condition.
List of tools:
Gasoline powered pump to retrieve water from a swimming pool with a fire hose and nozzle.
Battery powered radio for monitoring news reports and emergency evacuation broadcasts.
Flashlights and lanterns with a fresh supply of batteries.
First aid kit for horses and humans.
Ladders long enough to reach the roofs of all buildings on your property.
Generator with a fuel supply would be helpful in an extended emergency.
Can your address be seen easily from the street? Stand in the middle of the street and look at your residence. If there are no lights and its dark ,can you see your address easily?
Ideally your driveway (or road back to your property) should be at least twenty (20) feet wide with a fourteen (14) foot clearance above the road for emergency vehicles. Cut back vegetation four (4) feet
from the shoulder of the road. If possible, have a second access road to and from the house. If you don’t have room for a second road, make sure that you have adequate turn around room for large emergency vehicles.
This also allows you a second escape route.
If you have security gates, contact your local fire department for information about a Knox Box.
Locate your gas shut off valve and have the appropriate shut off tool attached to the piping.
Locate your main electrical service panel and know how to shut them off.
Store supplies of diesel fuel, gasoline, propane, kerosene, etc at a safe distance from the house and barn.
Have a hose attached at each hose bib and check the condition of the hoses every six (6) months. Don’t forget the ones at the farthest point of your property.
It’s a good idea to install sprinklers in, around and on top of barns and stables.
Check all of the electrical wiring. Rodents can chew through wiring, putting your barn at risk for fire.
Smoke detectors are another possibility.
Do not expect much water pressure as everyone else will be tapping into the local water supply including the fire department. Be prepared to put out fresh hot spots with your stored water. Shovel dirt on the spot fire if possible in order to conserve your water supply.
Large clearings are generally safe for your house, as well as your horse during a fire. Fire travels extremely fast. Lack of vegetation will not preclude the fire from traveling across your property. Fire travels faster going uphill. Fire also generates its own wind. This can cause cinders to fly everywhere. Cinders can be blown long distances to seemingly protected areas where your horses may be. Many trees that are not generally combustible can frequently catch fire and burn simply because debris was allowed to gather underneath.
Debris can include manure and bedding that you may have used for mulch. Bedding in your corral and barn can also burn. Remove bedding or remove the horse to a safer area.
In a “Fire Storm”, close all windows, doors and fireplace openings to seal your house.
Keep a list of emergency phone numbers: fire, law enforcement, Highway Patrol (for road closures), veterinarians and animal rescue both in the house and at the barn.
NOW FOR YOU!
Wear protective clothing: Cotton, wool and leather fabrics are best. Synthetics melt and rubber burns. Wear long sleeved shirts, and long cotton or wool pants. Leather gloves and boots (tennis or rubber shoes can melt). A cotton bandanna can serve as a mask, sweatband and to protect your hair. Have a good pair of eye goggles and a respirator to protect your lungs from smoke.
AND FOR THE ANIMALS:
Examine your property. Note what is NOT FLAMMABLE. You will quickly realize that most things burn – wood, plastic, paper, the thinner metals, aluminum, etc.
Do not store feed in your garage or house. It is possible that your home insurance could be negated by the storage of feed in improper places.
Feed burns! Alfalfa, oat and timothy hay, even pellets and grains – the drier, the faster it burns. Keep your feed and bedding away from structures. The fine dust from feed left on the floor is also flammable. Dispose of ruined feed immediately.
Hay stacks can become blazing infernos. Use a flame retardant cover over your stack, but if it catches fire – pull the stack apart.
Bedding such as straw and wood shavings in stalls and corrals is extremely flammable. Burning pieces can whip around in the wind and spread the fire.
Horse manure BURNS! Store it in a safe place away from buildings, and have the pile removed often.
Cob webs (yes, spider webs) are flammable and explosive and will nurture a fire. Sweep cob webs often from rafters, walls and fixtures often.
Spontaneous combustion can happen where you store saddle cleaning materials (such as oily rags, saddle oil, and kerosene). Store cleaning materials in sealed fire resistant containers.
Eves on your buildings can attract fire if they are open. Roof and rain gutters must be kept free of leaves, pine needles and other debris.
Since you cannot seal a barn like you can your home, be sure to follow the above suggestions to keep your barn as safe as possible.
Examine your horse fencing. Wood fencing burns, PVC fencing melts. They may not be safe in a fire.
Consider the location of your property, and select the safest type of fencing for your animals. Do not count on a “hot wire” to contain your animals.
Use fire safe equipment for your animals. Nylon halters and ropes can melt into your horses flesh. Use a leather halter and a cotton lead rope. Metal pieces on halters and leads can become burning hot. Don’t use nylon or plastic blankets, sheets, fly masks as they can also melt.
Remember! When an animal feels threatened, it’s a natural response for them to do one of the following:
Horses that are in a panic state frequently will not leave the security of their stall or corral. Any barn can burn, and horses must be led out and placed in a secured area, or they may run back into the burning barn.
Sedating your animals causes them to lose their natural instinct for self-preservation and is not always a good idea.
Not all emergencies occur in the daytime. Take your animals out at night. Animals see better than we do, but use a flashlight around them so they can become familiar with them. Don’t forget the automatic sprinklers too.
Can you quickly find you’re your horses halter and lead rope in the dark? What about your dogs’ collar and leash? Practice putting them on in the dark. Make sure you can unlock your corrals and kennels in the dark. Can you find and use a kennel in the dark?
Keep your truck and trailer hitched and facing the exit! Leave the doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition or keep a spare set in the horse area of your trailer. Practice loading and unloading your animals at night using only the truck and trailer light and take a short drive. Do this until it becomes comfortable for both you and your animals. Do safety checks on your trailer at least twice a year and don’t forget the tires.
Whatever you do TAKE YOUR TIME! This will probably be the hardest thing for you to do. Yelling, running and quick jerky movements will only add to your animals stress. Talk in normal tones and keep your actions as close to normal as possible. Have a plan of action. Which animals to evacuate first identify primary locations to evacuate to and also have a secondary one just in case.
If you board your horse, make sure that the boarding facility has an emergency evacuation plan. Most don’t and rescue personal are not allowed to remove them from the property.
Make sure your animals have some kind of identification, freeze brand, tattoo, chip, and keep a copy of all your animals’ identification in a safe place. Until then you can make a list of the animals names, age, color, any medical needs, diet and feed, your vets name and phone number, you may also wish to include your name and phone number in case you are not the one removing the animals. Keep these in a sealed clear pouch, laminate it attached to the outside of corrals, stalls or kennels.
Pack an animal evacuation kit and store it in your horse trailer. Do not padlock your corrals and stall doors. Keep halters and lead ropes attached and close to the horse they go with. Clip leashes to kennel fences.
Getting back home is at the top of everyone’s list. But before animals are returned to the property, do a complete inspection.
1. Inspect all perimeter fences and repair if necessary.
2. Inspect for debris. Pasture, corrals, stalls, barns, kennels etc.
3. Check for downed power lines.
4. Empty all water containers and disinfect before they are used again.
5. Dispose of any feed or bedding that has gotten wet or damp.
6. Air out buildings, barns, all out buildings and your home before moving anything back in.
7. Check all gas lines, power panels. If you are unsure, leave it and call in a professional.
Intense heat and dehydration can kill your animals. After a fire has passed watch for smoke inversion. Inversion is when smoke and other pollutants stay close to the ground. Smoke inhalation generally causes pneumonia, which untreated can cause death. Discuss with your vet the length of time your animals can be exposed to smoke without harm.
Remember these are suggestions only.
WITH ALL GOOD INTENTIONS – SOMETIMES WE RUSH TO INTERFERE WHEN WE SHOULDN’T. ACCESS THE SITUATION VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE TAKING ANY ACTION.
THE MOMENT MAY COME WHEN YOUR OWN LIFE IS AT RISK. FOR AS MUCH AS WE LOVE THEM, LET GO OF THE ANIMAL AND SAVE YOUR OWN LIFE.