Planning ahead to evacuate large animals in extreme weather and other crises will be easier thanks to the initiative of some rural residents and the State Emergency Service.
‘Plan A Is For Animals’ is aimed to help rural residents plan ahead to safely evacuate large animals in the event of fires or other emergency situations.
When the Carwoola bushfire tore through more than 3500 hectares of properties last year, 11 houses were lost and more than 30 farm and domestic animals were killed, including six alpacas.
Residents took it upon themselves to get horses to safety, but in the fire’s aftermath, Wamboin woman Melissa Beilby realised there was a need for a process to inform and assist people to evacuate animals.
Ms Beilby created a Facebook page, ‘ACT and Surrounds Equine Fire Rescue’. Shortly thereafter, the Queanbeyan-Palerang SES came on board.
Local Controller for Queanbeyan-Palerang SES, Lloyd Meehan was the liaison officer in the local emergency centre during the Carwoola fire.
He said people trying to evacuate horses were well-intentioned, but not acting in accordance with emergency controls.
“This could have potentially put them and the animals in even more danger,” he said.
The SES will be working with the Rural Fire Service and the Department of Primary Industries to coordinate better processes for animal safety in emergencies.
Mr Meehan explained: “The key is preparation and community education.
“People have fire plans for their homes and property, but this is about putting plans into place for getting large animals to safety.”
Working with Ms Beilby’s group, the SES is informing people of evacuation sites and preparing information for what they need to do, take and expect when evacuating large animals in potentially frightening situations.
The group will be doing community outreach via stalls at shows, gymkhanas and other events where horse owners and rural residents will be gathering.
- Stay in touch via ‘ACT and Surrounds Equine Fire Rescue’ on Facebook