Back Country Horsemen

Emergency Planning

by Ken Carmichael

Author’s note: This is an article I wrote for the Ponderosa Back Country Horsemen newsletter. I thought it was appropriate for the Horse Previews as well. You can obtain more information about Ponderosa Back Country Horsemen at WWW.PBCHW.COM or the state organization at WWW.BCHW.ORG.

Campfires are a great place to share war stories and exciting adventures. One story we do not like to hear is when someone experiences a tragedy that could have been avoided.

We have just gone through a season where we have seen excessive heat, wildfires and flooding across the country. Hopefully no one in BCHW has had to experience these events beyond just being uncomfortable or inconvenienced.
Recently I had the opportunity to help another BCH member evacuate stock as they were within the Area 3 designation for immediate evacuation. Fortunately, the fire went the other way and all ended well.

However, it really brings to mind the need for a good plan. Personally, I have always had a list of items to take in an evacuation. It is tapes to the inside of a kitchen cabinet and I have evacuated twice. But this experience pointed out the need to expand my plan and to be able to evacuate the property when I am not there.

This is not a “how to” article but instead just a reminder that we all need to make a plan. Some considerations include:
• “Personal Emergency Plan” as provided on BCHW website with information about where you are, how to find you or contact you, left with family or friend.
• List of items to take, and their location – in priority order, on inside of kitchen cabinet is a good place to put it.
• “Go bag” for those things that can be prepacked.
• “Go bag” for the animals or list of items they need.
• Easy access to horse containment equipment (halters).
• Arrangements for stock beyond your trailering capacity.
• Identification on the stock.
• Contact lists – Family, horse help, veterinarian, doctor, fire department.
• Evacuation routes – consider possible law enforcement barricades.
• Emergency meeting locations that can accommodate horses.
• Water shut offs and alarm systems.

I carry the chapter membership list in both vehicles for help on the road. During fire season I leave the trailer hitched to the pickup. When my kids were small it was a policy that if there was a fire I wanted them to be touching the power pole across the street so I could see them and know they were out of the house and safe. There is nothing worse than not knowing where your kids are.

There are many types of emergencies to plan for including natural, house fires and being on the road. The message here is to talk about it and develop a plan with those that will be affected.

Chapters can consider having a chapter program on emergency procedures. Fire department personnel may be guest speakers.

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