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Your Hurricane Action Plan

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 3, 2012 09:12

 

Check out Public Safety Canada’s site, www.getprepared.ca, to find out how to prepare for any kind of emergency or potential disaster. On that site you’ll find lots of information about how to make your personal emergency plan and what you should put in an emergency kit.

Here is an action plan of what you need to do before a hurricane becomes a threat:

1. Learn about hurricanes – Find out if hurricanes could be a threat to you. Visit the Canadian Hurricane Centre’s website to learn as much as you can. Go to the Climatology section of the website to learn if you are in an area that is visited by tropical cyclones and to see what such cyclones have done in the past. In particular, visit the section on Hazards and Impacts, which outlines the four basic threats posed by hurricanes or tropical storms in Canada:

2. Secure your home - You can make your home more secure and less vulnerable to storms. Once you know your vulnerability or areas of weakness, you can take steps to protect your family, pets and property.

First, make sure that you have the proper home insurance, which covers for specific losses where you suspect you are vulnerable. If insurance companies suspect that you are more vulnerable in certain ways, this will be factored into the amount of risk they are willing to take. This will in turn be reflected in the cost of your insurance. Doing whatever you can to reduce your vulnerability could also reduce your insurance costs.

Second, put the time and money into strengthening the areas where you are vulnerable. For example, if you already know that you have a basement flooding problem during heavy rain events, you can seal your foundation or other areas where water is finding its way in, build drainage ditches to divert water away from your house, and make sure that you have a working sump-pump. If wind is your greatest threat, you can strengthen the exterior of your home to keep wind from breaking in by doing things like protecting and reinforcing your roof, windows and doors (including garage doors). Construction experts can advise you on your exact needs. There is little you can do ahead of time to protect your home or property from storm surge and large coastal waves. The best thing you can do when storm surge or large waves are on the way is to move away from the coast.

Third, if a power outage would cause serious problems for you, you may want to consider having a backup generator that will supply enough power to meet your essential needs (like in the case of essential medical or supportive equipment). Most emergency plans focus on being self-reliant for the first 72 hours after disaster strikes, but if your needs extend beyond that, then this must be part of your personal plan.

3. Develop a family plan – Make sure everyone knows what to do, where to go and how to stay connected to information sources. Your family's plan should be based on your specific vulnerability to the hurricane hazards. Keep a written plan and share it with other friends or family.

Check out Public Safety Canada’s site, www.getprepared.ca, and let them help you create your own personalized family emergency plan. It will highlight things to consider such as

  • safe exits from home and neighbourhood
  • meeting places to reunite with family or roommates
  • designated person to pick up children should you be unavailable
  • contact persons (close-by and out-of-town)
  • health information
  • place for your pet to stay
  • risks in your region
  • location of your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical box, gas valve and floor drain

4. Create an emergency supply kit - There are certain items you need to have regardless of where you ride out a hurricane. It’s important to keep it fully stocked with what you need and for everyone in your home to know where it is kept. You can either buy an assembled kit or create your own from things commonly found in your home. You should also consider an emergency car kit.

Public Safety Canada’s site has details of what to put in your home emergency kit and your car emergency kit.

5. Information sources – Make sure that you know where to get the latest weather forecasts and public announcements from emergency managers. During a disaster, battery-operated radios are the most reliable way to get information. However, in the days leading up to a hurricane, these websites will provide the best up-to-the-minute information:

National:

Provincial Emergency Measures Organizations (EMOs):

Regional Weather Forecasts:

 

 

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Your Hurricane Action Plan

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 3, 2012 09:10

 

Check out Public Safety Canada’s site, www.getprepared.ca, to find out how to prepare for any kind of emergency or potential disaster. On that site you’ll find lots of information about how to make your personal emergency plan and what you should put in an emergency kit.

Here is an action plan of what you need to do before a hurricane becomes a threat:

1. Learn about hurricanes – Find out if hurricanes could be a threat to you. Visit the Canadian Hurricane Centre’s website to learn as much as you can. Go to the Climatology section of the website to learn if you are in an area that is visited by tropical cyclones and to see what such cyclones have done in the past. In particular, visit the section on Hazards and Impacts, which outlines the four basic threats posed by hurricanes or tropical storms in Canada:

2. Secure your home - You can make your home more secure and less vulnerable to storms. Once you know your vulnerability or areas of weakness, you can take steps to protect your family, pets and property.

First, make sure that you have the proper home insurance, which covers for specific losses where you suspect you are vulnerable. If insurance companies suspect that you are more vulnerable in certain ways, this will be factored into the amount of risk they are willing to take. This will in turn be reflected in the cost of your insurance. Doing whatever you can to reduce your vulnerability could also reduce your insurance costs.

Second, put the time and money into strengthening the areas where you are vulnerable. For example, if you already know that you have a basement flooding problem during heavy rain events, you can seal your foundation or other areas where water is finding its way in, build drainage ditches to divert water away from your house, and make sure that you have a working sump-pump. If wind is your greatest threat, you can strengthen the exterior of your home to keep wind from breaking in by doing things like protecting and reinforcing your roof, windows and doors (including garage doors). Construction experts can advise you on your exact needs. There is little you can do ahead of time to protect your home or property from storm surge and large coastal waves. The best thing you can do when storm surge or large waves are on the way is to move away from the coast.

Third, if a power outage would cause serious problems for you, you may want to consider having a backup generator that will supply enough power to meet your essential needs (like in the case of essential medical or supportive equipment). Most emergency plans focus on being self-reliant for the first 72 hours after disaster strikes, but if your needs extend beyond that, then this must be part of your personal plan.

3. Develop a family plan – Make sure everyone knows what to do, where to go and how to stay connected to information sources. Your family's plan should be based on your specific vulnerability to the hurricane hazards. Keep a written plan and share it with other friends or family.

Check out Public Safety Canada’s site, www.getprepared.ca, and let them help you create your own personalized family emergency plan. It will highlight things to consider such as

  • safe exits from home and neighbourhood
  • meeting places to reunite with family or roommates
  • designated person to pick up children should you be unavailable
  • contact persons (close-by and out-of-town)
  • health information
  • place for your pet to stay
  • risks in your region
  • location of your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical box, gas valve and floor drain

4. Create an emergency supply kit - There are certain items you need to have regardless of where you ride out a hurricane. It’s important to keep it fully stocked with what you need and for everyone in your home to know where it is kept. You can either buy an assembled kit or create your own from things commonly found in your home. You should also consider an emergency car kit.

Public Safety Canada’s site has details of what to put in your home emergency kit and your car emergency kit.

5. Information sources – Make sure that you know where to get the latest weather forecasts and public announcements from emergency managers. During a disaster, battery-operated radios are the most reliable way to get information. However, in the days leading up to a hurricane, these websites will provide the best up-to-the-minute information:

National:

Provincial Emergency Measures Organizations (EMOs):

Regional Weather Forecasts:

 

 

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General

Tornadoes: Being Prepared

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   June 16, 2012 07:59


Stay Tuned for Storm Watches and Warnings

When there are thunderstorms in your area, turn on your radio or TV to get the latest emergency information from local authorities. Listen for announcements of a tornado watch or tornado warning.
Local Warning System

Photo of tornado warning system.Learn about the tornado warning system of your county or locality. Most tornado-prone areas have a siren system. Know how to distinguish between the siren's warnings for a tornado watch and a tornado warning.

A tornado watch is issued when weather conditions favor the formation of tornadoes, for example, during a severe thunderstorm.

During a tornado watch,

    Stay tuned to local radio and TV stations or a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio for further weather information.

    Watch the weather and be prepared to take shelter immediately if conditions worsen.

A tornado warning is issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar.

You should take shelter immediately.
Thunderstorms

Because tornadoes often accompany thunderstorms, pay close attention to changing weather conditions when there is a severe thunderstorm watch or warning.

A severe thunderstorm watch means severe thunderstorms are possible in your area.

A severe thunderstorm warning means severe thunderstorms are occurring in your area.

Keep fresh batteries and a battery-powered radio or TV on hand. Electrical power is often interrupted during thunderstorms--just when information about weather warnings is most needed.
Important Measures To Take

    Photo of floor plan.Take a few minutes with your family to develop a tornado emergency plan. Sketch a floor plan of where you live, or walk through each room and discuss where and how to seek shelter.

    Show a second way to exit from each room or area. If you need special equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located.

    Make sure everyone understands the siren warning system, if there's such a system in your area.

    Mark where your first-aid kit and fire extinguishers are located.

    Mark where the utility switches or valves are located so they can be turned off--if time permits--in an emergency.

    Teach your family how to administer basic first aid, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home.

    Learn the emergency dismissal policy for your child's school.

    Make sure your children know--
        What a tornado is
        What tornado watches and warnings are
        What county or parish they live in (warnings are issued by county or parish)
        How to take shelter, whether at home or at school.

Extra Measures for People with Special Needs

    Write down your specific needs, limitations, capabilities, and medications. Keep this list near you always--perhaps in your purse or wallet.

    Find someone nearby (a spouse, roommate, friend, neighbor, relative, or co-worker) who will agree to assist you in case of an emergency. Give him or her a copy of your list. You may also want to provide a spare key to your home, or directions to find a key.

    Keep aware of weather conditions through whatever means are accessible to you. Some options are closed captioning or scrolled warnings on TV, radio bulletins, or call-in weather information lines.

Practicing Your Emergency Plan

Conduct drills and ask questions to make sure your family remembers information on tornado safety, particularly how to recognize hazardous weather conditions and how to take shelter.
Writing Down Important Information

A blank form is provided for you to write down important names and numbers.

Make a list of important information. Include these on your list:

    Important telephone numbers, such as emergency (police and fire), paramedics, and medical centers.

    Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of your insurance agents, including policy types and numbers.

    Telephone numbers of the electric, gas, and water companies.

    Names and telephone numbers of neighbors.

    Name and telephone number of your landlord or property manager.

    Important medical information (for example, allergies, regular medications, and brief medical history).

    Year, model, license, and identification numbers of your vehicles (automobiles, boats, and RVs).

    Bank's or credit union's telephone number, and your account numbers.

    Radio and television broadcast stations to tune to for emergency broadcast information.

Storing Important Documents

Store the following documents in a fire- and water-proof safe:

    Birth certificates
    Ownership certificates (autos, boats, etc.)
    Social security cards
    Insurance policies
    Will
    Household inventory
        List of contents of household; include serial numbers, if applicable
        Photographs or videotape of contents of every room
        Photographs of items of high values, such as jewelry, paintings, collection items

First Aid Supplies

 
First Aid Kit
Store your first aid supplies in a tool box or fishing tackle box so they will be easy to carry and be protected from water. Inspect your kit regularly and keep it freshly stocked.

Drugs and Medications

    Soap and clean water to disinfect wounds
    Antibiotic ointment
    Individually wrapped alcohol swabs
    Aspirin and non-aspirin tablets
    Prescriptions and any long-term medications (keep these current)
    Diarrhea medicine
    Eye drops

NOTE: Important medical information and most prescriptions can be stored in the refrigerator, which provides excellent protection from fires.

Dressings

    Band-aids
    Clean sheets torn into strips
    Elastic bandages
    Rolled gauze
    Cotton-tipped swabs
    Adhesive tape roll

Other First Aid Supplies

    First aid book
    Writing materials
    Scissors
    Tweezers
    Thermometer
    Bar soap
    Tissues
    Sunscreen
    Paper cups
    Plastic bags
    Safety pins
    Needle and thread
    Instant cold packs for sprains
    Sanitary napkins
    Pocket knife
    Splinting material

Reducing Household Hazards

 
Home Inspection Checklist
The following suggestions will reduce the risk for injury during or after a tornado. No amount of preparation will eliminate every risk.

Possible Hazards

Inspect your home for possible hazards, including the following:

    Are walls securely bolted to the foundation?

    Are wall studs attached to the roof rafters with metal hurricane clips, not nails?

Utilities

    Do you know where and how to shut off utilities at the main switches or valves?

Home Contents

    Are chairs or beds near windows, mirrors, or large pictures?

    Are heavy items stored on shelves more than 30" high?

    Are there large, unsecured items that might topple over or fall?

    Are poisons, solvents, or toxic materials stored safely ?

Securing Your Home's Structure

No home is completely safe in a tornado. However, attention to construction details can reduce damage and provide better protection for you and your family if a tornado should strike your house. If an inspection using the "Home Inspection Checklist" reveals a possible hazard in the way your home is constructed, contact your local city or county building inspectors for more information about structural safety. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do any needed work for you.
Walls and Roof Rafters

Strengthen the areas of connection between the wall studs and roof rafters with hurricane clips as shown in the above graphic.
Shutting Off Utilities
Gas

After a tornado, DO NOT USE matches, lighters, or appliances, or operate light switches until you are sure there are no gas leaks. Sparks from electrical switches could ignite gas and cause an explosion.

If you smell the odor of gas or if you notice a large consumption of gas being registered on the gas meter, shut off the gas immediately. First, find the main shut-off valve located on a pipe next to the gas meter. Use an adjustable wrench to turn the valve to the "off" position.
Electricity

After a major disaster, shut off the electricity. Sparks from electrical switches could ignite leaking gas and cause an explosion.
Water

    Water may be turned off at either of two locations:

        At the main meter, which controls the water flow to the entire property.

        At the water main leading into the home. If you may need an emergency source of fresh water, it is better to shut off your water here, because it will conserve the water in your water heater.
    Attach a valve wrench to the water line. (This tool can be purchased at most hardware stores.)

    Label the water mains for quick identification.

Arranging and Securing Household Items

    Arrange furniture so that chairs and beds are away from windows, mirrors, and picture frames.

    Place heavy or large items on lower shelves.

    Secure your large appliances, especially your water heater, with flexible cable, braided wire, or metal strapping.

    Identify top-heavy, free-standing furniture, such as bookcases and china cabinets, that could topple over.

    Secure your furniture by using one of two methods.

        "L" brackets, corner brackets, or aluminum molding, to attach tall or top-heavy furniture to the wall.

        Eyebolts, to secure items located a short distance from the wall.

    Install sliding bolts or childproof latches on all cabinet doors.

    Store all hazardous materials such as poisons and solvents--
        in a sturdy, latched or locked cabinet
        in a well-ventilated area
        away from emergency food or water supplies


http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes/prepared.asp

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Equine Emergency Rescue

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   October 15, 2011 12:16

HorseOwnerToday had the privilege to talk with MaryAnne Leighton, author of Equine Emergency Rescue.  www.equineER.com.  MaryAnne Leighton has a lifelong love affair with horses and the written word. She is a horsewoman and established author, features writer, editor and proofreader. She writes biography and non-fiction and her extensive experience in the horse world allows her to write with authority for equine publications worldwide.

MaryAnne has had careers in public relations, marketing and horse stud management. She bred horses for twenty years – both her own national champions and for studs that ranged in size from two stallions and twenty mares to seven stallions and four hundred mares. She has travelled extensively and, apart from horse-related themes, has written about subjects as diverse as the European Space Agency, the use of computer systems within an abattoir and the intensity of the darkness in the bowels of Mt Isa mine.

In 2006 she was commissioned to write Living the Legend: the Ian Francis Story, the biography of one of the world’s most accomplished horsemen that sells not only in Australia but through Clinton Anderson’s Downunder Horsemanship in the USA.

MaryAnne’s home has always been a sanctuary for aged, infirm, injured and abandoned animals and her passion for the plight of horses that are injured or killed during rescue from entrapment lead her to publish Equine Emergency Rescue in November 2010. This book is proving a life-saver with members of Australian SES and RSPCA and horse owners around the world.



1.      Tell HorseOwnerToday.com about the events that started your journey to write Equine Emergency Rescue?
Back in 2008, in the space of only seven days I read two newspaper articles about horses in different countries that fell into septic tanks. The first died from injuries he received during his 'rescue', the second was able to be lifted out and survived. Apart from the fact they should not have had access to the tanks, I thought there had to be a better way to get them
rescuing horses from life-threatening situations, contacted all the people I could find and bought two books (Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue and Save Your Horse) written by American authors. Both are brilliant but I thought if I was writing my own book I'd do it a little differently.
When I decided to write my own guide for Aussie horse owners, equine vets and emergency responders, I was absolutely blown away by the support I received from around the world. Experts in the UK, Europe and the USA answered all my lengthy questions, helped me write guidelines for vets who are called to rescue scenes, and sent photos of training events and actual rescues. Michelle Staples, author of Save Your Horse www.saveyourhorse.com , very generously offered me her manuscript and photos, telling me to use them any way I wanted. I rewrote her book, added three new sections, changed the format turning it from a black and white publication to a full colour glossy book and added Michelle as co-author.
 
In November 2010 I invited American rescue trainer Rebecca Gimenez www.tlaer.org to Australia to launch Equine Emergency Rescue at Equitana (Australasia's biggest horse expo) and while she was here she conducted three one-day Large Animal Rescue awareness courses for owners, vets, RSPCA Inspectors and a few emergency responders.
 
Within two months, Equine Emergency Rescue had been taken up as the training manual for all Large Animal Emergency Rescue training courses in Australia and within 10 months the first print run had all but sold out.

2.      You are an obvious horse “lifer”.  I have read your on-line descriptions and pictures from Equine Emergency Rescue.  I am a horse “lifer” as well, growing up on the farm, with a clear understanding that if you have livestock you have dead stock.  I found many of your photos presented on-line difficult to look at.  Equine Emergency Rescue strikes me as being a difficult book to write, perhaps even a very emotional journey.  Can you tell HorseOwnerToday.com about the difficulties you faced researching, compiling and finally writing Equine Emergency Rescue?
I probably find rescues and the resultant photos less confronting than most people, due to my background. For 20 years I managed horse studs, with up to seven stallions, 400 mares and 200 foals born each year. When you work with so many horses, continually you are presented with challenging and gut-wrenching situations - after all, the horse is an accident waiting to happen and he is always more than willing to demonstrate his ability to get into trouble. My greatest difficulty was finding the money to publish Equine Emergency Rescue myself.
3.      What type of people dedicate themselves to Equine Emergency Rescue?
Those who, like yourself, are passionate about horses and even more passionate about keeping rescuers and victims safe.
4.      Tell HorseOwnerToday.com about your goal, your purpose that you wish to achieve by writing Equine Emergency Rescue?
My goal is to keep rescuers safe and prevent them causing serious injuries or even death to the animals they are trying to rescue.
Because we have been able to draw on the vast experience of animal rescue specialists in the UK and USA, I believe we will progress Large Animal Rescue in Australia much faster than they did. Even though Large Animal Rescue has been taught in the USA for 20 years, less than 1% of that country's emergency responders are trained in these techniques. It is dramatically better in the UK where two specialists from Hampshire Fire and Rescue trained in the US in 2003 and now, eight years later, almost every unit in the UK has an animal rescue capability and equine and bovine vets are routinely trained in LAR techniques and the technicalities of sedating and anesthetising a trapped large animal.
Within five years I hope we will be where the UK is and am pleased to say we are well on the way. I see my function as being to promote rescue in the media and support those who train our emergency responders and equine vets. Equine Veterinarians Australia is already scheduling regular courses for its members and their clients, we have held our first 'train the trainer' workshop, all RSPCA Inspectors (who are called to large animal rescues in this country) in the states of New South Wales and Queensland have attended training courses and now know what to do, and we have held awareness courses for horse owners, racing staff, stock inspectors, biosecurity officers and others.
At Equitana Sydney in November 2011 our first animal rescue team will demonstrate rescue techniques with the help of "Bruce" the training mannequin, we will talk about upcoming training courses and I will have rescue training equipment there for people to handle and buy. They will also be able to buy my book, Equine Emergency Rescue found at http://www.equineER.com