It is not only necessary for people to plan for themselves in emergencies but also to plan for pets, service animals and even livestock.
This can range for disaster planning for care of these animals for things such as feed, water and shelter but also how to handle animals if they get loose.
One area where animals can not only get loose but also create significant issues is if they are involved in an crash while being transported on the roadway. Traffic crashes involving trucks and trailers carrying livestock can create significant issues for emergency responders. Issues such as how to contain the animals and keep them from being struck by other traffic or how to safely remove them from the scene require advanced thought and planning.
Maria Bendixen, Clark County University of Wisconsin-Extention dairy and livestock agent, provided a presentation to the Clark County Emergency Services Association at the Jan. 8 meeting. This presentation began by covering topics such as development of a contact and resource list for these types of incidents along with suggestions for how to keep animals contained.
Unfortunately, sometimes in these types of crashes the animals involved are injured and tragically, euthanasia becomes necessary. This issue also was part of the discussion and presentation to include who to involve in the decision process if this appears necessary and how it can handled as humanely as possible.
Bendixen also discussed safety issues regarding removal of animals from trailers and ways to contain animals when they are loose. It is hoped that further educational opportunities will be made available including hands-on training to demonstrate safe handling of animals this spring.
It is important for livestock producers to think about their animals as part of their own emergency planning. Each has their own unique set of issues to address.
Power outages can cause concerns involving things such as cooling fans to keep animals cool in hot weather or to operate equipment to get dairy cows milked and keep the milk cooled until it can be transported off the farm.
These are just a few issues to plan for. The need for planning is important and must be done in advance of an emergency.
John M. Ross is the Clark County emergency management director.