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American Red Cross of Rhode Island DEVELOP A BARN SAFETY & EVACUATION PLAN

Your evacuation plan should outline each type of disaster and determine specific scenarios best suited for each situation. It should include a list of resources such as trucks, trailers, pasture and/or feed which might be needed in an evacuation as well as a designated person who will unlock gates and doors and make your facility easily accessible to emergency personnel.

  • Post your plan in a clearly visible place.
  • Make sure that everyone who lives, works or boards at your barn is familiar with the plan.
  • Get to know your neighbors and their animals.
  • Select a Neighborhood Coordinator who is familiar with your evacuation plan and will be ready to assist should a disaster occur when you are not at home.
  • Learn to handle your neighbors' animals and identify those which have special handling needs (i.e. stallions).
  • Post an updated phone list (home and office) of all neighbors and anyone who boards at your facility.

American Red Cross of Rhode Island FOOD & WATER REQUIREMENTS

Water is ALWAYS given free choice to all animals. Animals (except birds), like people, can go extended periods of time without food, but can only last a couple of days at the most without water. The values, below, are approximate per adult animal per day and may vary greatly with temperature, workload, stress and disease. Sources of feed should be identified before a disaster.

In general most herbivorous animals are going to eat approximately 1-2% of their body weight in some form of "roughage." Roughage is hay or hay-like products (pellets, cubes, hay, etc.) In an emergency grain products ("concentrates") need not be given.



Disaster Food Schedule






Beef Cattle

5-15 Gallons

alfalfa &/ or oat

15-30 lbs


Dairy Cattle

5-30 Gallons


15-40 lbs



5-15 Gallons

alfalfa &/ or oat

8-15 lbs

2x Daily


1-2 Gallons

pig pellets/mixe d grains

1-7 lbs (depending on weight of pig)

once or twice daily


2-5 Gallons

alfalfa &/ or oat hay

2-4 lbs

2x Daily


1-2 Gallons





1-2 Gallons

alfalfa &/ or oat hay

1-5 lbs


American Red Cross of Rhode Island DURING & FOLLOWING A DISASTER

Your personal safety and that of those around you should always be your first concern. A pre-determined plan will help you remain calm and think clearly. Remember to communicate and cooperate with all emergency personnel. If you must leave the premises let someone know where you are going and try to remain in contact with that person.

American Red Cross of Rhode Island IN THE EVENT OF A FIRE

Do not enter buildings that are already burning--smoke inhalation will slow you down and possibly kill you. Contact emergency personnel immediately. Report changes in wind direction, speed and fire behavior. Post a lookout for possible dangers. Have your trailer hitched and pointed towards the road. Leave barn doors unlocked and keys in the ignition. Put halters on animals and keep gates unlocked but secure. If you believe that the barn will burn before emergency personnel will arrive, release the animals to a safer location. Animals often will return to a place they know as home, but you should not enter buildings that are already burning. Leave this to fully equipped emergency personnel. Smoke inhalation can slow you down and kill you.

If you are caught out in the open when the fire hits, seek areas with sparse vegetation or bare ground. Lie face down in a depression and cover yourself with anything that will protect you from the heat. Avoid trying to outrun the head of a fire, instead watch for slower burning flanks. Do not attempt to control the animals that are with you. Let them go free--they will have a better chance of escaping the fire.

American Red Cross of Rhode Island IN THE EVENT OF AN EARTHQUAKE

During the quake remember to Drop, Cover, or Hold On. Once the tremors have stopped, take a good look around. Do not enter buildings that may have become unstable during the quake. Like you, your animals will be frightened and need reassurance. If an animal has become injured or trapped, call emergency personnel immediately. Be prepared for aftershocks.

American Red Cross of Rhode Island IN THE EVENT OF A FLOOD

If you receive notice of rapidly rising waters, move all animals, feed and water to higher ground. Escape routes may be cut off quickly so avoid leaving animals in standing water or in areas that may be easily cut off by the flood.

American Red Cross of Rhode Island IF YOU MUST LEAVE ANIMALS BEHIND

Post a highly visible sign (either on a window or a door) letting rescue workers know the breed and amount of animals which remain. Leave plenty of food and water in an adequate container that cannot be tipped over. Place extra food close to the animals so rescue workers may feed them daily. Do not tie the animals or leave them confined in an area that may be easily destroyed. Loose animals on roads or highways can be easily injured and interfere with emergency rescue vehicles, so the animals should be directed towards a safer area such as a pasture.

American Red Cross of Rhode Island IF YOUR ANIMAL BECOMES LOST

Immediately call or visit the nearest animals shelter or emergency command post. When deemed safe, return to your neighborhood to post and distribute lost animal posters, which include your name, address, phone number and a picture of the animal. Animals may stay hidden for weeks, so be patient and continue searching your area.

American Red Cross of Rhode Island IF YOU FIND A LOST ANIMAL

If you should find a lost animal, please notify the local animal shelter as soon as possible and be prepared to give a full description of the animal (i.e. color, breed, sex) and its location. Remember that sick and/or injured animals can become unpredictable from the stress of injury, and should be handled by a professional familiar with proper handling techniques.

American Red Cross of Rhode Island WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

Help organize a neighborhood rescue group.
Join an animal rescue team and learn techniques to aid animals during a disaster.

American Red Cross of Rhode Island GET YOUR VETERINARIAN INVOLVED

Check to see if there is a local animal care organization in your area that you can join.

American Red Cross of Rhode Island BEFORE DISASTER STRIKES

Be prepared ...

  • Reduce Hazards
  • Maintain a firebreak around all buildings.
  • Mow weeds and trim trees which reside close to any buildings.
  • Regularly clean roofs and gutters.
  • Repair exposed wires, rotten supports and blocked waterways.
  • Post No Smoking signs.
  • Clearly label all shut-offs.
  • Store combustibles such as hay, straw, wood, shavings and/or gasoline away from animal barns.
  • Remove overhanging trees that may fall on animals or buildings.
  • Keep an adequate water source

American Red Cross of Rhode Island IDENTIFY YOUR PET

Keep animal vaccinations current and photographs, papers and other identifying documents in a safe and easily accessible location. Brand, tag, freeze marking, tattoo or implant your animals with a permanent Microchip I.D.

American Red Cross of Rhode Island PREPARE A DISASTER KIT

Successful disaster preparedness depends on knowing where emergency equipment is stored and keeping it easily accessible. Your facility should be equipped with ladder(s) long enough to reach the roof, cotton ropes, shovels, rakes, water buckets, flashlights or lanterns, blankets and a minimum of 100 feet of hose. Restraining equipment such as cotton halters, cotton lead ropes, collars, whips, hot shot, hog snares, blindfolds, fence panels and hot wire kits are also a must in an emergency. Have an adequate, portable first-aid kit and a battery powered radio ready at all times.

This information was prepared by the
Animal Rescue Council
Marin Humane Society
171 Bel Marin Keys Boulevard
Novato, CA 94949

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