I am part of several strong communities, whose members are well connected can support each other during recovery. One of the communities I belong to is centred around our local horse club.
Within my on and offline horse communities, we talk about how recovery from a disaster, plan for contingencies, and where possible, organise and attend training sessions together. We have also checked out the public facilities that might be able to take horses should a 'buddy' system fail for some of our club members.
We make planning for recovery a social occasion. Last month our club invited all local horse owners to a BBQ to share info, meet neighbours and be one step closer to a connected community.
RECOVERY STARTS IMMEDIATELY, AT THE SAME TIME AS PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT DISASTER
CREATE A SAFER PLACE
My horses, given space and low fuel loads, are more likely to survive most fire, flood and storm situations.
I have checked through the SA Country Fire Service website, finding the page dedicated to pets and livestock, and attended a local public information session. I have also joined my local Community Fire Safe Group.
Prolonged heat is dangerous. I have made sure there is enough shade for each horse, cool water (water gets too warm in shallow troughs).
KEEPING HORSES SAFER
For fire or flood, I will be removing rugs, halters and fly veils.
By activating my plans early, I will have time to open internal gates and tie back to avoid accidental closure. As pre-arranged with neighbours, gates will be opened between properties.
For horses staying near the house during a fire, there is a bare area ready. For flood, we know how to get access to higher ground.
I have access to hay and water which will last a week or more.
I know not to open any gates which give horses access to the road, and to shut gates/doors into stables, which may act to trap horses.
Photo: Kathy Szalay-Evans
KNOW WHERE TO GET HELP
I have made some enquiries as to which government and non-profit agencies are likely to be required as part of recovery.
After a significant disaster e.g. Sampson Flat or Pinery fires, the state government will firstly set up an emergency relief centre, which after a short time is replaced with a recovery centre. All relevant recovery info is posted online here.
It is very important to register with the local recovery centre as soon as possible afterwards.
Red Cross run all sorts of services, including a Register.Find.Unite service.
I keep our property maintained, as this will facilitate an increased likelihood of survival for humans and horses. The property may bounce back and recover more quickly after a disaster.
Biosecurity risks are also reduced through property design and management regimes.
Horse SA partners with the NRM Adelaide & Mt Lofty Ranges (& other NRM agencies on request) to deliver education and information on property management. Click through for information on events, presentations info or videos.
TIPS FOR PROPERTY PREPARATION
Here are a few ideas to share
1. My property is clearly identified from the road
2. A fire truck fit through the gate and turn around
3. A fire truck can fit under tree branches down my road and driveway, including stable yard access roads
4. Water tanks and pumps accessible for firefighters
5. My neighbours aware of our property layout
6. We are working on setting up a farm fire-fighting unit
Photo: SA CFS