message: Start early, don't get trapped
If in doubt,
take them out. What you may find, and suggestions as to what
- Bolt cutters, wire
cutters, hammers, gloves.
trained to load
- Do what you know. Bring
ropes, whips, flags, extra people.
- Do not tranquilize
unless you are qualified.
- If you can't get them in
a reasonable length of time, leave them. It has to be
like triage. Get the ones you can.
- Send stock trailers if
possible for horses not trained to load, then load
through a gate from a pen, stall, panels, or in a
- Make a note of time,
place, anything else pertinent and keep moving.
being indecisive about going
- Hugs, reassurance, leave
your phone number and get the horses out. .Better safe
danger/consequences of road closures, trees across
halters/leads, no extra ropes
- Bring as many as you
can, different sizes.
phones, land lines overloaded
- Try to stay off phones.
Get all info in first call. Write everything down.
away from phones
- Make a whole plan, share
all contact info when you first talk to them.
- Take maps even if you
know the area. It s going to look very different, and
usual routes may not be available.
- DON'T go in if you
aren't sure you can get out. Fire engines won't even do
- It's probably worse than
you think. Take particle masks, inhalers if you've ever
used one, and just don't go if you asthma or any other
- Take LOTS of water,
snacks, toilet paper, first aid supplies, flashlights,
good boots and gloves, extra glasses, fully gassed
vehicles. You may need to be out there a lot longer than
anticipated. Emergency mode makes us ignore our own
needs, but this could go on for many days. We need to
take care of ourselves to be able to be of service
Dress appropriately in gloves, boots and long pants.
Wear cotton if possible, avoid synthetic if you're
anywhere near the fire area.
- Don't go to haul horses
unless you know exactly where you are going. TAKE MAPS.
- Tell looky loos to go
- Drive slowly and
carefully no matter what is going on.
- Don't go alone.
- Take flashlights, sharp
knife, twitch, animal first aid supplies, pillow cases
or burlap bags for small animals, extra collars and
leashes for dogs, animal marking crayons, polaroid or
disposable camera, notebook and pens, MAPS.
Identification, record keeping
- There may be animals
that end up in big groups, or to places with many, even
hundreds of animals. Don t think you ll recognize them
for sure. They should be marked with livestock crayon,
like for endurance rides, available at many feed
- You can attach tags to
halters (shouldn't be left on if at all possible), or
braid tags into forelocks, top part of mane, or top part
- Spray paint can be used
in an emergency, maybe a phone number.
- Keep a notebook with
where the animal came from, a thorough description (look
under lips and manes for tatoos and freeze brands), any
notations about injuries, or special care needs, and
where the animals went.
- Take digital or
disposable camera pictures from the front and both sides
- Many people here who
went to haul livestock ended up moving small animals,
too. Take sturdy crates if possible, pillow cases or
burlap bags are fine.
- Cats especially need to
stay very carefully confined; many were lost here.
Better to be uncomfortable for a few days than lost
forever! They will need to be kept somewhere cool and
shaded, and offered water frequently.
- Kennels at homes are
great for dogs. Stalls work well, too, if they
definitely can't get out.
- ID small animals
- Take muzzles if you have them, or
use gauze if necessary to make a figure eight around the
muzzle, crossing under the jaw and tie at the top of the
head behind the ears. Remove as soon as possible and
keep dogs cool.
- People housing animals
may need stall cleaning help, supplies, buckets, feed,
- Try to examine and temp
anything that looks sick, isolate if possible.
- There may be many
helpful groups of volunteers - be sure they are
supervised properly to prevent accidents and escapes.
- As early as possible,
make things clear between owners and people housing
animals. Unfortunately there were big board bills
presented by some barn owners to evacuees after it was
all over. Make sure expectations are clear and upfront.
The great majority of people here were extremely
generous and helpful during the emergency.
Bless you all and take good
care. These thoughts and ideas came from many people who
helped with animal evacuations in southern Oregon during the
Rebecca Highlander is a
free-lance author living in southern Oregon who has written
numerous articles on horse handling and other subjects of
interest to horse owners. For more information, please
contact Rebecca at