1.5 PREPAREDNESS FOR LIVESTOCK
Emergency preparedness is especially important for livestock because of their size and special shelter & transportation requirements. On a farm, generally, the effects of severe storms on livestock are lessened by moving animals to avoid the storm; mitigating the storm's effect if it cannot be avoided; or sheltering the animals, ensuring they have access to food and water. The approach taken would depend upon the type of storm/emergency anticipated.
Hypothermia & dehydration are the two most probable life-threatening conditions for animals in cold weather.
Barn fires are the most common disaster for livestock at anytime of the year
o Mount fire extinguishers in all buildings and at all entrances
· Regularly maintain them
· Make sure all family members and employees know how to use them
o Keep aisle and all doors free of debris and equipment
Consider removing all barbed wire and rerouting permanent fencing so that animals can move to high ground in a flood and to low-lying areas in high winds
Install a hand pump and obtain enough large containers to water your animals for a least a week in the event the water supply is contaminated
Identify alternate water and power resources
Do you have enough feed, bedding material, supplies, medications on hand to last an extended period in case suppliers/supplies are unavailable because of the disaster
Identify alternate location(s) for your animals in case of evacuation
Label hazardous materials and place them all in the same safe area. Provide information about their location to local fire and rescue and emergency authorities.
If the emergency is Winter Storm/Extreme Cold:
o Wet conditions and wind-chill add greatly to the cold-stress for animals
o Livestock should be provided with wind-break and roof shelter
o Monitored for signs of discomfort (extensive shivering, weakness, lethargy, etc.)
o Provide extra hay/forage/feed as up to double the calories for normal body heat maintenance may be needed in extreme cold and if you are unable to get to the animals for a couple of days because of deep snow, etc. they will have enough food.
o It is critical that animals have access to drinking water at all times
· Usual water sources may freeze solid in low temperatures and dehydration becomes a life-threatening factor
· Many animals, especially the young, may not know how or be unable to break several inches of ice to reach water
· Animals tend to drink less in extreme cold, risking dehydration
· Research with horses shows horses drink more water if it is warmed during winter weather
o If possible, move animals to an indoor shelter or building
· Provide additional bedding to keep animals insulated & to keep them dry
Place sand or other non-toxic gritty material on icy feedlots to provide good footing
Ensure heaters are working properly and are in areas with adequate ventilation
Ensure adequate ventilation in buildings
o Animals could suffocate from lack of oxygen
o Open vents to facilitate natural air flow
o Clear ice and snow from vents
Know the signs of Cold Reated Illnesses in any species of animals you own:
· Extremities (ears, tails, teats, male reproductive organs) are particularly subject to frostbite
· Signs may not necessarily be obvious for several days (waxy or pale appearance to affected areas, sloughing of freeze-damaged tissue)
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· Extreme shivering
· Increased respiration
· Confused, erratic, clumsy behaviour
Livestock/Farm Emergency Kit:
During an emergency, you will need to decide whether to confine large animals in an available shelter or leave them outdoors. This will depend on what emergency/disaster is occurring and how much warning you have.
Have a current list of all animals
o Include proof of ownership, their location, records of feeding, vaccinations & tests
Have a contact list of emergency phone numbers (employees, neighbours, veterinarian, poison control, animal care, transportation resources, etc.)
Supplies for temporary identification of your animals
o Plasitc neckbands, permanent markers to label with your name, address & phone no.
Basic first aid kit
Handling equipment such as halters, cages, blankets, etc.
Bolt cutters to quickly free animals in an emergency
Water, feed and buckets
Tools and supplies needed for sanitation
o Cell phone; Flashlights; Portable radios
o Other safety & emergency items for your vehicles and trailers
Let everyone know where the emergency kit is being stored
Consider evacuating your animals only on the advice of your veterinarian or local emergency management officials.
Sheltering in Place:
Sometimes evacuation isn’t posssible and can be challenging especially in winter and while it often seems that animals will be safer inside barns, in many circumstances, confinement can reduce their ability to protect themselves.
Survey your property for the best location for shelter. If you pasture meets the critereia below, your large anminals may be better off in the pasture than being evacuated.
No trees which can uproot easily
No overhead powerlines or poles
No debries or sources of blowing debris
No barbed-wire fencing
Not less than 1 acre in size (less than an acre, livestock may not be able to avoid wind-blown debris)
There is shelter &/or windbreak areas
o Shallow open front sheds
o Solid sided feed wagans can serve as temporary wind protections (place plywood or bales of straw under the wagon to block the wind
If your pasture doesn’t meet the above criteria, you should move your animals to a barn/building
o Winterize any building that may provide shelter for livestock
o Check roof structure and stability to hold the weight of accumulated snow/ice
o Repair roof leaks
o Have proper ventilation
If your building(s) does not meet the above criteria, you should evacuate your animals. Winter Storm Preparation R.M. of Corman Park Created January 2011 Page 13
The leading causes of death of large animals in disasters are collapsed barns (winter snow is too heavy for roof or roof is susceptible to high winds), dehydration (frozen water), eletrocution and accidents resulting from fencing failure.
If you must evacuate, do so as soon as possible otherwise everything will get caught in the storm
Set up safe transportation including trucks and trailers suitable for livestock and appropriate for each type of animal, along with experienced handlers and drivers
Take disaster/emergency livestock kit with you
When sheltering off your property, make sure that they remain in familiar groupings, securely contained and sheltered from the elements
Notify your veterinarian, processer, feed representative, etc. if evacuating
SECTION 3: BLIZZARD/WINTER STORM PRECAUTIONS
Storm damage can cost an individual or family a significant amount of money; therefore it is best to take precautions ahead of time to minimize these costs. YOU are the first line of defence against damage and it is up to you to minimize any harm that may occur.
3.1 Before a Blizzard/Winter/Ice Storm
If a blizzard or heavy blowing snow is forecasted, you may want to string a lifeline between your house and any outbuildings to which you may have to go during the storm
o In wide open areas, visibility can be virtually zero during heavy blowing snow or a blizzard
o A lifeline will guide you and give you something to follow
If a severe storm is forecast, secure everything that might be blown around or torn loose – indoors & outdoors.
o Flying objects such as garbage cans and lawn furniture can injure people and damage property
When a winter storm hits, stay indoors
If you must go outside, dress for the weather
o Outer clothing should be tightly woven and water-repellent
o The jacket should have a hood
o Wear mittens – they are warmer than gloves
o Wear a hat, as most body heat is lost through the head
o Avoid travel; if you are safe where you are, stay where you are
If you must travel during a winter storm
o Do so during the day
o Let someone know your route and arrival time.
If travel is unavoidable make sure you have:
o Enough fuel
o A vehicle emergency kit
o A winterized, reliable vehicle
o Check out local media for weather updates, road conditions & the level of civic services available
If your car gets stuck in a blizzard or snowstorm:
o Remain calm and stay in your car
o Try to move the car away from trees or power lines that might fall on you
o Allow fresh air in your car by opening the window slightly on the sheltered side (away from the wind)
o You can run the car engine ~ 10 minutes every half-hour if the exhaust system is working well
o Beware of exhaust fumes and check the exhaust pipe periodically to make sure it is not blocked with snow. Remember: you can't smell potentially fatal carbon monoxide fumes
o To keep your hands and feet warm, exercise them periodically. In general, it is a good idea to keep moving to avoid falling asleep
o If you do try to shovel the snow from around your car, avoid overexerting yourself
· Overexertion in the bitter cold can cause death as a result of sweating or a heart attack
o Keep watch for traffic or searchers.
If you live on a farm, shelter animals:
o Generally, if the structure is sound, the animals should be placed indoors
o Once they are inside, secure all openings to the outside
o The sheltering should be ordered and completed before similar action is taken for humans
o Water supplies should be checked for freezing. Many animals have died of thirst during the winter, even with abundant water sources, because they could not drink the water as it was frozen solid.
Prepare for Power Outages and Blocked Roads
o Winds, ice and snow tend to bring down power lines
o Make sure that you have an emergency kit (see Page 6)
Staying warm when the power goes out may be a problem
o Be prepared with alternative heat sources and plenty of blankets
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Stock up on shovels and snow removal equipment before the snow storm
Be sure you know how to open your garage door manually
Cover the windows and spaces around the doors to keep drafts at a minimum in the event the heat shuts off
Regular fuel sources may be cut off
o Have an adequate supply of alternate fuel sources available
o If you have a fireplace or a wood burning stove, stock up on dry seasoned wood
If you live in an area that gets bad storms regularly, consider investing in an emergency generator
A cellular phone is a 'hot' commodity for the snowbound. If you have a cell phone, make sure it is charged and easy to find. Even if the phone and power lines go out you can get word out that you are stranded and need help.
3.2 Before an Ice Storms
Ice from freezing rain accumulates on branches, power lines and buildings. If you must go outside when a significant amount of ice has accumulated, pay attention to branches or wires that could break due to the weight of the ice and fall on you. Ice sheets could also do the same.
Never touch power lines
o A hanging power line could be charged (live) and you would run the risk of electrocution
o Remember also that ice, branches or power lines can continue to break and fall for several hours after the end of the precipitation
When freezing rain is forecast, avoid driving
o Even a small amount of freezing rain can make roads extremely slippery
o Wait several hours after freezing rain ends so that road maintenance crews have enough time to spread sand or salt on icy roads.
Rapid onsets of freezing rain combined with the risks of blizzards increase the chances for extreme hypothermia
o If you live on a farm, move livestock promptly to shelter where feed is available
o Forage is often temporarily inaccessible during and immediately after ice storms
o Animal reactions to ice storms are similar to that of blizzards
3.3 During a Blizzard/Ice Storm/Winter Storm
If you must go to the outbuildings, dress for the weather
If you lose Heat/Power
o Insulate your pipes so they do not freeze
o Consider letting your faucets drip a little if the temperature drops below freezing
· Moving water will not freeze as fast as standing water
· Keep a supply of antifreeze on hand to protect plumbing from freezing
o Know where your water main valve shut off is located and how to turn it off if a pipe does break or you are unable to have your faucets drip
3.4 After a Blizzard/Winter/Ice Storm
Assess the damage to your property, if any
Check out local media regularly for the level of civic services available
o If you must travel, plan your route accordingly. The first priority for snow clearing is to ensure movement of traffic on the major roads and access to emergency locations
Exercise caution and care when shoveling snow, especially during very cold weather
SECTION 4: POWER OUTAGE
A winter storm/blizzard/ice storm may lead to power outages.
Most power outages will be over almost as soon as they begin, but some can last much longer – up to days or even weeks, ESPECIALLY in rural areas. Power outages are often caused by freezing rain, sleet storms and/or high winds which damage power lines/poles and equipment. Poles may be damaged by vehicles losing control and running into them causing power outages. Cold snaps can also overload the electric power system.
During a power outage, you may be left without heating, lighting, hot water, or even running water. If you only have a cordless phone, you will also be left without phone service. If you do not have a battery-powered or crank radio, you may have no way of monitoring news broadcasts. In other words, you could be facing major challenges. You can greatly lessen the impact of a power outage by taking the time to prepare in advance. You and your family should be prepared to cope on your own during a power outage for at least 72 hours.
4.1 PREPARING FOR AN OUTAGE
You can install a non-electric standby stove or heater
Choose heating units that are not dependent on an electric motor, electric fan, or some other electric device to function
It is important to adequately vent the stove or heater with the type of chimney flue specified for it
Never connect two heating units to the same chimney flue at the same time
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, have the chimney cleaned every fall in preparation for use and to eliminate creosote build-up which could ignite and cause a chimney fire.
If the standby heating unit will use the normal house oil or gas supply, have it connected with shut-off valves by a certified tradesperson.
Before considering the use of an emergency generator during a power outage, check with furnace, appliance and lighting fixture dealers or manufacturers regarding power requirements and proper operating procedures.
Program 310-2220 into your cell phone
o This SaskPower phone number is toll-free and dedicated to 24-hour outage reporting
Keep a corded phone in the house, because cordless phones don't work during power outages
o Program 310-2220 into the phone's memory
Plug in sensitive electronic equipment (computer, TVs, etc.) through surge-protector power bars
If you use electronic life-sustaining equipment, make sure to have a back-up power source
o You can register your life-sustaining equipment with SaskPower and be notified of planned power outages
Make sure you have a Personal Emergency Kit prepared (list on Page 6 of this booklet)
Keep a supply of antifreeze on hand to protect plumbing from freezing
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4.2 DURING AN OUTAGE
Determine if the power failure is limited to your home
o If your neighbours have power, check your electrical panel to see if the main circuit breaker has tripped
Turn the breaker off and back on again to ensure a good connection
If your electrical panel or main breaker isn't the cause of the outage, call (SaskPower) 310-2220
Turn off or unplug any appliances or electronics you were using when the power went out
o Leave one light on so you'll know when your power returns
Keep refrigerators and freezers closed
o If the power is out for a long time, make sure you check all refrigerated and frozen food before you eat it
Use proper candle holders
o Never leave lit candles unattended and keep out of reach of children
o Always extinguish candles before going to bed
Close all doors, windows and drapes to conserve heat (unless the sun is shining in)
Never light a fire indoors unless you're using an approved fire place or wood stove
Make sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector
o If it is hard-wired to the house’s electrical supply, ensure it has a battery-powered back-up
If you have to Evacuate during a power outage in the winter:
o Turn off the main breaker or switch of the circuit-breaker panel
o Turn off the water main/pipe where it enters the house
o Protect the valve, inlet pipe, meter or pump with blankets or insulation material
o Drain the water from your plumbing system
· Start at the top of the house
· Open taps, flush toilets (several times)
· Go to the basement and open the drain valve
· Drain you hot water tank by attaching a hose to the tank valve and running it to the basement floor drain
· If you hot water tank is gas-fired, turn out the pilot light
· Unhook washing machine hoses and drain
o Add a small amount of glycol or antifreeze to water left in toilet bowl(s) and the sink & tub taps
o Do not worry about the small amount of water trapped in horizontal pipes
o If your house is protected from ground water by a sump pump, clear valuables from the basement in case of flooding
Environment Canada Public Weather Warnings for Saskatchewan http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/warnings/sk_e.html
The Weather Network’s Page for Alerts: Weather Warnings & Public Alerts http://www.theweathernetwork.com/alerts/?product=alerts
Get Prepared Website: (Federal Government Website), www.GetPrepared.ca
All information in this post is a small part of the following document by the R.M. of Corman Park, an excellent resource.