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Farm Animals

If you own farm animals you should plan to protect them from hazards caused by emergency situations. During severe storms farm animals are at risk of death or injury due to building collapse, dehydration, electrocution and traffic accidents because fences break down.

Disasters can happen anywhere. They include barn fires, hazardous materials spills, propane explosions and train derailments. It is important that you be prepared to react to keep your livestock safe, whether you evacuate or shelter in place.

Preparing for Facing an Emergency

  • Make a disaster plan to protect your property and your animals
  • List emergency phone numbers - employees, neighbours, veterinarian, poison control, animal shelter, animal care and control, local agricultural schools, tailoring resources and local volunteers
  • Make sure every animal has visible identification
  • Ensure that poultry have high areas in which to perch, if they are in a flood-prone area, as well as access to food and clean water
  • Reinforce your house, barn and outbuildings. Perform regular safety checks on utilities, buildings, and all facilities on your farm
  • Have an available water supply or enough large containers to water your animals for at least a week (municipal water supplies and wells are often contaminated during a disaster)
  • Identify alternate water and power sources. A generator with fuel may be essential, especially if you have electrical equipment necessary to the well-being of your animals
  • Secure trailers, propane tanks and other large objects. If you have feed troughs or large containers, fill them with water before any high-wind event. This prevents them from blowing around and gives you additional water
  • Make sure the wiring is safe and any heat source is clear of flammable debris. Check all heat lamps or other electrical machinery for safety
  • Place hazardous materials in a safe area and have them well-labeled/ tell the local fire department where hazardous materials are
  • Remember hazardous materials can leech into crops, feed supplies, water sources, and pasture during flooding

Farm Disaster Kit

Keep your kit in a central location and let others know where it is. Regularly check to make sure everything is fresh and complete. Include emergency items, and then add items that you use every day:

  • Current list of all animals, records of feeding, vaccinations/tests and proof of ownership for all animals
  • Temporary identification for animals (plastic neckbands or large permanent markers to mark animals with your name)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Handling equipment (halters, cages and tools for each kind of animal)
  • Water, feed and buckets
  • Tools and supplies
  • Emergency equipment (cell phone, flashlights, portable radios and batteries generators)
  • Other safety and emergency items for vehicles and trailers, gas, oil, chains and tools
  • Food, water and disaster supplies for your family

Preparing for an Evacuation

  • Evacuate animals as soon as possible once an evacuation is ordered. In a slowly evolving disaster, such as a hurricane, leave no later than 72 hours before the landfall. High-profile trailers and horse trailers can slow you down in the wind
  • Prepare ahead: find safe shelters for farm animals in your community: fairgrounds, other farms, racetracks, humane societies and safe facilities you can find along your planned evacuation route
  • Plan at least two possible evacuation routes well in advance
  • Plan your method of transportation: trucks, trailers and other vehicles for transporting livestock as well as handlers and drivers
  • Carry an Emergency Supply Kit or make sure everything you need is available at your evacuation site. You should have or be able to obtain feed, water, veterinary supplies, handling equipment, tools and generators if necessary
  • If you move your animals, keep them in groups they are used to, securely contained and sheltered (cages, fenced-in areas, or buildings)

Sheltering in Place

Often, keeping animals inside barns actually takes away their ability to protect themselves.

Survey your property for the best place to shelter animals. If your pasture area meets the following criteria, your large animals may be better out in the pasture rather than being evacuated:

  • No trees which uproot easily
  • No overhead power lines or poles
  • No debris or sources of blowing debris
  • No barbed-wire fencing
  • Area no less than one acre in size (in less than one acre, your livestock may not be able to avoid blowing debris)

Barn Fires

There are many ways you can prevent barn fires from happening:

  • Do not allow smoking in or around the barn
  • Avoid parking tractors and vehicles in/ near the barn because engine heat and backfires can spark a flame. Store other machinery and flammable materials outside of the barn
  • Inspect electrical systems regularly and immediately correct any problems. Rodents can chew on electrical wiring causing damage. Use stall fans, space heaters and radios only when someone is in the barn
  • Install a sprinkler system
  • Be sure hay is dry before storing it. Hay that is too moist may combust. Store hay outside of the barn in a dry, covered area

Even when you take these preventative measures, you should still prepare for the event of a barn fire:

  • Mount fire extinguishers in all buildings, especially at all entrances. Make sure they are current. Make sure family and employees know how to use them
  • Keep aisles, stall doors and barn doors free of debris and equipment
  • Have a planned evacuation route for every area of your farm and familiarize all family members and employees with your evacuation plans
  • Post emergency telephone numbers at each telephone and entrance (e.g. veterinarian, emergency response personnel and livestock handlers). Keep your barn's street address clearly posted to relay to the 911 operator/emergency services
  • Be sure your address and the entrance to your farm are clearly visible from the main road
  • Install smoke alarms and heat detectors in all buildings. New heat sensors can detect rapidly changing temperatures in buildings. Smoke detectors and heat sensors should be hooked up to sirens that will quickly alert you and your neighbours to a possible fire
  • Host an open house for emergency services personnel in your area to familiarize them with the layout of your property. Provide them with tips on handling your animals or present a mini-seminar with hands-on training
  • Familiarize your animals with emergency procedures and common things they would encounter during a disaster/desensitize them to flashlights and flashing lights

During a Barn Fire

  • Call 911 or your local emergency services
  • Do not enter any building if it is already engulfed in flames
  • If it is safe for you to enter the barn, evacuate animals starting with the most accessible ones
  • Move animals quickly to a fenced area far enough from the fire and smoke. Never let animals loose in an area where they are able to return to a burning building

County Contacts

26 Park Avenue, Burford, ON N0E 1A0
Phone: 519-449-2451
Toll Free: 1-888-250-2295
Fax: 519-449-2454
Monday - Friday - 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 160
Burford, ON
N0E 1A0

Property Tax
26 Park Avenue, Burford, ON N0E 1A0
Phone: 519-449-2451
Toll Free: 1-888-250-2295
Fax: 519-449-1380
Monday - Friday - 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 249
Burford, ON
N0E 1A0