When Disaster Strikes

After a tornado, fire, or other disaster hits your farm, how would you respond and rebuild? Here’s what to remember.
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When Disaster Strikes
After fire swept through Amanda Eggleston's farm in January 2015, she's been rebuilding with safety in mind. | Photo Credit: Courtesy Amanda Eggleston

After a tornado, fire, or other disaster hits your farm, how do you respond and rebuild?

In the wake of the 2013 tornado that devastated a swath of territory near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Amanda Eggleston volunteered to help veterinarians transport animals from the disaster zone to treatment clinics or Heritage Place, a holding facility designated to house horses left homeless by the storm. One of Eggleston’s most challenging tasks was pulling a 40-foot horse trailer into the disaster zone. Her most pressing problem was convincing first responder crews that she belonged there in the first place.

“The power lines were down, and we were working around fire and police crews,” recalls Eggleston. “It was just like a war zone, and a lot of first responders didn’t want us there because they didn’t know what we were doing.”

The Oklahoma tornado had demolished every home, barn, and pasture fence in its path. And this was just one of the many disasters that have challenged U.S. horse owners in recent years. In 2014 mudslides in Washington state displaced 30 horses and left their owners and caretakers homeless. In 2015 a rash of barn fires claimed the lives of several horses in Florida, Ohio, and elsewhere

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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