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Mobile County Emergency Management Agency

BE PREPARED – Livestock Owners

Severe weather, flooding, drought and extreme cold or heat are some of the major hazards that worry farmers and ranchers in addition to the day-to-day concerns. Preparedness is not just necessary; it becomes a way of life.

An important aspect of preparedness is knowing which neighbors to call for help and which neighbors you can help.

If you have pets such as horses, goats and pigs, here are some additional steps that FEMA recommends taking to prepare for a disaster.

  • Ensure all animals have some form of identification.
  • Evacuate animals earlier, when possible. Map out primary and secondary routes in advance.
  • Have available the vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting each type of animal. Also have experienced handlers and drivers.
  • Ensure destinations have food, water, veterinary care and handling equipment.
  • If evacuation is not possible, animal owners must decide whether to move large animals to a barn or turn them loose outside.
  • Ensure that poultry has access to high perches if they are in a flood-prone area, as well as to food and clean water above the potential flood line.
  • Reinforce your house, barn, and outbuildings with hurricane straps and other measures.
  • Perform regular safety checks on all utilities, buildings and facilities on your farm.
  • Use only native and deep-rooted plants and trees in landscaping (non-native plants are less durable and hardy in your climate and may become dislodged by high winds or broken by ice and snow).
  • Remove all barbed wire and consider rerouting permanent fencing so that animals may move to high ground in a flood and to low-lying areas during high winds.
  • Install a hand pump and obtain enough large containers to water your animals for at least a week (municipal water supplies and wells are often contaminated during a disaster).
  • Identify alternate water and power sources. A generator with a safely stored supply of fuel may be essential, especially if you have electrical equipment necessary to the wellbeing of your animals.
  • Secure or remove anything that could become blowing debris. Make a habit of securing trailers, propane tanks and other large objects. If you have boats, feed troughs or other large containers, fill them with water before any high wind event. This prevents them from blowing around and will also give you an additional supply of water.
  • If you use heat lamps or other electrical machinery, make sure the wiring is safe and that any heat source is clear of flammable debris.
  • Label hazardous materials and place them all in the same safe area. Provide local fire and rescue and emergency management authorities with information about the location of any hazardous materials on your property.
  • Remove old, buried trash, which is a potential source of hazardous materials during flooding that may leach into crops, feed supplies, water sources and pasture.