Set up a stronger communications plan to help your farm or business survive in the event of a disaster

With cell phone cameras in nearly every hand and a world hyperconnected by social media and the Internet, news of a crisis can spread quickly. If not managed well, a catastrophic occurrence and the resulting news or social media exposure can cause nearly irreparable damage to a horse business, event, or brand.

The bad news is many equine facilities or organizations simply aren’t prepared to handle the public relations (PR) and media outreach required following a catastrophic event or natural disaster. The good news is that preparation is the easiest part.

A Barn Fire Tragedy
In the wee hours of May 31, 2011, a barn caught fire at True Prospect Farm in West Grove, Pa. Six of 11 horses inside died, and four were rushed to the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School’s New Bolton Center for emergency veterinary treatment; several of the surviving horses were in critical condition.

A barn fire is a disaster and a tragedy at any farm, but in this case the public’s interest level was extremely high; Olympic eventing gold medalist Phillip Dutton owns the farm, and fellow U.S. Equestrian Team member Boyd Martin, also an eventer, and his wife, Grand Prix dressage rider Silva, were renting the barn that ignited. One of the horses in intensive care was Olympic prospect Neville Bardos.

News of the fire spread quickly via the Internet, with word going out on blogs within hours after the fire started. Equine organizations and groups sent out news releases recounting the event that s