News Releases

August 30, 2011

The Vermont Agriculture Agency Advises Livestock and Pet Owners to Take Storm Precautions

The Vermont Department of Agriculture, Food and Markets today advised farmers and animal owners of important precautions they should take in order to preserve their property and animals in advance of the upcoming storm. Hurricane Irene is forecast to be felt in Vermont beginning Sunday morning, with heavy rain potentially causing flash flooding, and high winds expected to knock out power to many Vermonters.

Pet owners (of dogs and cats) should:

• Be sure to have an emergency plan for pets in the event that the household must evacuate.

• Remember that pets are not allowed to be housed with owners in shelters operated by the American Red Cross. Instead, they may be kept in nearby or co-located facilities where those are available. You may be directed to a local Veterinary Clinic with boarding capabilities.

• Be sure to have the following items with evacuated:

o Pet food stored in a waterproof container; favorite toy;

o Pet carrying/housing crate large enough for your pet to sleep in comfortably;

o A collar, leash, or other appropriate methods of pet restraint that fits;

o Pet medications or special diets if applicable;

o Copies of proof of current rabies vaccination; a clear and current photo of you with your pet; and

o Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets.

Farmers with livestock should:

• Provide additional reinforcement of all covers on feed stored outside in anticipation of strong winds;

• Move farm equipment under cover wherever possible;

• Make sure generators are in working order and installed according to manufacturer’s instructions or under the advisement of an electrician. This is especially important for farms with livestock that are milking;

• If power is lost, never run a generator indoors. Even in a barn you can have CO poisoning. Always run generators in well ventilated areas;

• Make sure livestock have access to potable water and clean feed;

• Move livestock to accessible higher ground in advance of the storm in order to avoid exposure to flash flooding.

• For more detailed information on disaster planning for livestock please visit the following link. http://www.uvm.edu/~ascibios/?PageEmergency/Disaster_Planning_for_Livestock.html&SMsubmenuemergency.html

Crop farmers should remember that crops exposed to flood water contaminants are not considered safe for consumption.

Other preparedness activities:

• Everyone should monitor weather information from the National Weather Service (www.nws.gov/btv), radio and TV broadcasts, print media, or Internet sources.

• Clear your yard of toys, lawn furniture and other objects that could become dangerous if blown around in high winds.

• Stock up on water, non-perishable food and other supplies to be able to shelter at homes for up to three days.

• Prepare for power outages by stockpiling flashlights and fresh batteries and a battery powered radio. If you have a generator, ensure that it is professionally installed and can be operated without causing a carbon monoxide hazard. Report outages to your electric utility. Be sure you have at least one phone that does not need electricity.

• If local officials order an evacuation, respond immediately. Plan your evacuation route ahead of time, one that brings you over high ground.

• Use text messaging to communicate with family and friends during a storm if possible, rather than cell phone calls. Texts use much less bandwidth than cell phone calls and messages are more likely to get through.

• Boaters should stay off waterways during the storm. Rain will make rivers run fast, and high winds will create dangerous waves on lakes.

Source: Vermont Emergency Management
Last Updated at: August 30, 2011 12:23:22