There is nothing quite like having a huge wildfire 15 miles from home to highlight how ill prepared we are in the event that we need to evacuate. It can feel quite overwhelming. So following Natalie's lead, I have started to put together a plan for our emergency situations and then will work to put them in place a little at a time.
Since you can't make a plan unless you know what you're planning for, I started with listing the things that could happen then started thinking about how likely they are to occur and how big of a deal it would be if it did occur...
Potential Emergency Situations/Events:
- Wildfire - High Risk. While we are mostly surrounded by established neighborhoods and only about 2 miles from the nearest Fire Station, last summer showed that wildfire is a big risk for all of us in the Western United States.
- Tornado - Medium Risk. We are not far from the edge of "Tornado Alley." They happen frequently in Colorado. Most of the time they are much further east than we are. However, the Windsor Tornado in 2008 was about 20 minutes from here.
- Blizzard - Medium Risk. We have several each winter almost always with advanced warning. Power can go out, pipes can freeze. The biggest issue is being able to get around outside and leaving the property/neighborhood via car.
- Extreme Cold - High Risk. We have several periods each winter, almost always with advanced warning. Power can go out, pipes can freeze, risk of frostbite.
- Extreme Heat - High Risk. Generally our summer temperatures are quite comfortable with usually about one week of temps above 100F. Last summer we had a record number of days with temps above 100F. With black dogs and fleeced alpacas the animals can get overheated without enough access to shade and water.
- Hail - Low Risk. Hail storms happen frequently here, however the stones are usually pea-sized or smaller. Small stones do not cause much structural damage. However, when the stones get larger they can cause roof and vehicle damage and if one is caught in the storm, hail stones can cause bodily harm.
- Flooding due to Extended Rainfall - Low Risk. We do get puddles on our property due to the clay soil not being able to soak up large amounts of rain quickly.
- Flash Flooding - Low Risk. While the Big Thompson Flood of 1976 happened near here and highlights the devastation that can be caused by a flash flood. We are not close enough to any rivers for this to be an issue for us in our current location.
- Power, Gas, Water or Internet Outage - Medium Risk. the Electricity and Internet go out several times a year around here. In fact there is a planned 3 hour outage for tonight. Usually they are only for a few minutes to a few hours. Occasionally they go out several hours to several days.
Certainly there are a lot of other things to consider like personal injury but I think it would be easy to go down a "rat hole." So I'm starting with the big stuff.
Then, while working on another post about choosing Livestock Guardian Dogs (stay tuned), I spent some time thinking about our predators too...
· Neighborhood Dogs
· Mountain Lion - unlikely
· Bear - unlikely
Coyote and Neighborhood Dogs are the only real threat to alpacas on this list, but we have lost three cats to something. My theory is that the Owls were the culprit, but without evidence, there's no way to know for sure.
We are planning our first litter of puppies for the end of 2013 so the Eagles, Owls and Raccoon are honest threats to puppies. We have also been back and forth about getting chickens... someday. So, I think we have a complete list of predators.
At this point, I'm not entirely sure where we are as far as being prepared for these events... Predation of Livestock, Shelter in Place, Evacuation.
With the Tibetan Mastiffs as Livestock Guardian Dogs, we've made progress in the Predation risks, but we still have improvements to make. In the event of Sheltering in Place, I feel we're in pretty good shape with the exception of water. But in the event of Evacuation or Pre-Evacuation we have a lot of preparations to make.
Over the next several weeks, I'll be putting together these requirements (wants and needs) and determining what we really have verses what we really need.