As another spring comes to an end and summer is fast approaching, the risk of fire danger is increased.
Therefore, it is an important time to review and update your fire plan to adequately prepare for the months ahead. Remember that your management will change in the event of a fire and knowing your fire plan will prepare you to act quickly.
Planning for you and your horses:
Harness Racing Victoria strongly advises you to consider your horses in your fire plan. This will providing them with the best chance of survival in the event of a fire.
Whilst some participants may only be caring for a small number of horses with easy access to another property for evacuation and safety, others may have much larger numbers of horses and many staff to consider.
It is therefore important to be well informed and prepared to ensure the safety of all that may be affected by fire, be that two legged or four. When reviewing your plan, the following matters should be considered to ensure the safety of you and your horses.
• Plan, review and learn prior to the fire season. It is important that all people living and working on the property are aware of what action to take in the event of a fire.
• Prior to the season you should ensure you have a ‘Property Identification Code’ registered with Department of Agriculture through the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources DEDJTR and have correct details recorded for animals listed as being kept on your property.
• Include in your plan ‘safe places’ if you need to leave in a hurry or have a plan in place to move your horses in the event of a fire on high-risk days.
• Plan and prepare your property. Situations involving fire can escalate and change quickly. It is important to prepare your property adequately, such as slashing fire breaks and having an area or paddock that is either well grazed or slashed to house horses in the event of a fire. This paddock or area should have access to water that is not reliant on electricity to make it available.
• Having access to a radio or other device to source information on emergencies.
• Familiarise yourself with locations of emergency evacuation centres. This information can be obtained from your local council.
If your plan is to leave the horses on the property:
• Removing rugs, halters and fly veils that may catch fire or melt causing burns on high risk fire danger days or in the event of a fire.
• Moving horses to an area with minimal vegetation and sufficient water.
• Ensure paddocks are easily accessible.
• Maintain a properly resourced first aid kit for you and your horse to be used during or after a fire event.
• Keeping an emergency contact list, including your vet for emergency assistance.
Resources for more information:
These are just some of the measures recommended to assist participants prepare for the upcoming fire season. Being prepared and understanding the risks will be important if the time comes where you need to enact your evacuation plan or to stay and defend your property and horses.
Information for this article has been sourced from the follow sources.
CFA - Horses and bush fires
Agriculture Victoria - Assessing horses after bushfires
Agriculture Victoria - Horses and livestock in emergencies