Horses, Hurricanes and Floods

When hurricanes or floods impact an area, unprepared horse owners are faced with a question that requires a fast answer. “Do I evacuate the horses or shelter them in place?” We encourage horse owners to think about this question as it pertains to their own unique situation, and prepare ahead of time. Below are some videos that may help you with your emergency planning. While it’s not always possible to evacuate horses, there are health hazards associated with leaving horses in a flood. “In fast rising floods horses can be swept into obstacles, including fences and corrugated iron, which can cause seriously injuries. Mud can pose a serious hazard for stranded horses. If trapped and immobile they can fracture a limb or seriously injure themselves struggling in deep, sticky mud. Eye injuries are commonly sustained when horses attempt to pull themselves free and hit their faces on stalls or fencing. Other hazards common to horses after floods include rainscald, mudfever, foot problems, pneumonia, wounds (especially to the legs), waterborne illnesses such as leptospirosis, and problems from drinking contaminated water or eating mouldy food.” Source Equine Sheltering in Place: For more information about disaster preparation for horses, check out our post Emergency Preparedness for People With Horses.

Animals in Disaster

Toad Power

Sometimes large-scale events and unforeseen circumstances can slow down recovery efforts, and sometimes all it takes is something small – like a toad. In case you don’t regularly read the Austin American Statesman, you may have missed an interesting story that shows the complex nature of disaster recovery. Those involved with disaster recovery need to think about a wide variety of factors that come into play, including the cleanup efforts’ effects on animals.

To set the stage, a historic wildfire season hit Texas in 2011, and we continue to work in support of state and local officials in providing assistance to affected individuals and local governments. This assistance to local governments includes supporting removing debris in some of the damaged areas.

A small, rare object that could soon be spotted hopping nearby, however, has the potential to delay FEMA-funded recovery projects in certain areas. This object is the endangered Houston toad, which surfaces during mating season. Emergency managers have a responsibility to carry out our jobs in a manner that avoids or minimizes adverse impacts to the environment, especially potential impacts on endangered species.

View in FEMA Multimedia Library

Photo of the endangered Houston Toad. (Courtesy of the National Fish and Wildlife Service)