Hurricane Matthew is a powerful storm that impacted coastal Georgia last week. The Georgia Department of Agriculture watched this storm very carefully and reacted as necessary to the impact on Georgia's Agriculture.
The current track of Hurricane Matthew has it threatening coastal Georgia. This dangerous storm brings a potential of high winds and lots of rain, both which could potentially impact our Georgia Animal Industry. Below are some tips on how to Be Prepared.
- Ensure you stay informed and follow emergency instructions given by your local and state Emergency Management Associations.
- Have a plan ahead of time - To ensure the safety of family, pets, livestock and home;
- Provide good maintenance for your facility – This will reduce structural damage;
- Have a generator of sufficient size to provide for your vital needs – power outages can occur;
- Fill the fuel tanks – Have all fuel tanks full with extra available for generators, vehicles, tractors, chainsaws, etc.– Store fuel and equipment out of reach of the weather so it will not get flooded;
- Test the generator and equipment before you need it – Run it;
- Have extra batteries for flashlights and radios and charge the mobile phone;
- Flying debris from hurricane winds can cause major damage – Make sure equipment inside and outside the house is stored away or secured (i.e. wheelbarrows, loose pump houses, pallets, lumber, etc.);
- Ensure your pets and livestock are safe – Make plans ahead of time – Feed, water, housing, transportation, destination, expenses;
- Fill feed tanks, bins, feed lines and water tanks full ahead of the storm, and then turn the power off until the storm passes - Seal feed bin lids to prevent admitting water. Raise food and water 4-5 feet if flooding is a possibility. Be prepared to ration the feed you have - Road closures may delay feed truck deliveries and your ability to get supplies;
- Have wheelbarrows and buckets available to deliver feed and water by hand;
- Reinforce the openings – Doors, windows, etc;
- After the storm, check on animals and property for damage - Ventilation, water supply, feed supply, structural repairs should be assessed in that order;
- An evacuation for several days can be detrimental for animals left behind - Develop a plan that outlines options to handle mortality;
- The Georgia Department of Agriculture, Animal Industry, can assist with coordination of your animal needs – We work with Emergency Management, rescue groups and private volunteer groups – If you need assistance, please call the contact numbers below:
Animal Health – Assistant State Veterinarian - 404-656-3667 - animal movement/animal disease
Livestock/Poultry – 404-656-3665 – livestock - cattle, goats, sheep, poultry, pigs, ratites, camelids
Companion Animal/Equine Health – 404-6563713/404-656-4914 - dogs, cats, birds, pets, horses
Robert M Cobb Jr DVM
Division Director of Animal Industry