Before the Fire: Planning for Emergencies

Ive been keeping an eye on the most recent California wildfire, dubbed the Lockheed fire, which at the time of this post has burnt some 6800 acres. Fires out there are commonplace, but this one, of all of them, is personal: Ive lived there.

As I was reading up on it in the Sentinal online, I saw a picture of the owner of Beauregard Vineyard… not a horseman at all… leading a horse to safety. Thank you!

Fire in the mountains was one of our worst nightmares. The San Lorenzo valley has thousands of homes that are, right now, under siege. Back in the day, all I had was a cat. Now, with horses in the picture, I have to ask myself what would I do?

We have a relationship of trust with our horses. We take care of them and see to their safety in our modern world. In return, they set aside their natural fear of predators and live in our world.

How will you honor that trust?

Every responsible horse owner should have a fire plan. It should be thought out well in advance. The details of the plan should leap to mind immediately and the responses automatic. It should cover all the basics: food, shelter, water, medication, transportation, and destination.

Do you have a trailer? Does your horse load the first time, every time? Do you have sufficient containers for water and grain? Are there any special requirements of feed or medications? If you have to hunt for any of the above, precious time is wasted.

Where are you evacuating to? How many ways can you get there? Call you local fire department and ask where the most likely shelters are for horses. Know your options because fire crews may have one or more roads blocked. It is one thing to find that out in a car. Its quite another to turn 70 feet of truck and trailer around on a narrow road.

These are just some of the avenues you should carefully consider, and plan on someday having to execute under duress. Although you hopefully will never need this information, you owe it to your partner to take these steps to ensure their safety and longevity.

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