Take the time to make a plan

Published 11:10 am Saturday, December 9, 2017


With wildfires blazing across southern California, many homes and businesses are in the path of those Santa Ana-fueled flames. With weather working against firefighters, it’s impossible to contain the fires.

But it’s not just homes that are in the path of the fiery destruction. Circulating on social media right now is a video of people working side-by-side with firefighters and rushing in to set free dozens of terrified horses in stalls at San Luis Rey Downs, home to many thoroughbred racehorses. Earlier Thursday, horses were being transported to another facility just in case — the fire was not a threat until suddenly it was upon them. Unfortunately, 25 horses died in the fire. Most of the rest were simply set free to save themselves.

Of similar nature, when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas this summer, many people with livestock found themselves setting those animals free. No one expected the unprecedented amount of flooding that took place over those several days. No one expected that their animals would have no solid ground to stand upon.

When Hurricane Irma hit Florida, one couple with therapy horses laid down multiple tarps topped with straw, put up makeshift stalls and invited their horses in to weather out the storm in their cathedral-ceilinged living room.

While eastern North Carolina has nothing but cold and dreary weather threatening it right now, residents here should be pondering those “what ifs?” What if a Category 3 hurricane was supposed to make a direct hit on Beaufort County? What if the family must to go to a shelter, but the shelter isn’t equipped to take animals? What if the evacuation notice goes out and plans haven’t been made to evacuate pets?

The fires in southern California should serve as an awakening for those on the other coast: sometimes tragedy happens quickly and unexpectedly. Other times, it’s slower and there’s more time to plan — in the case of hurricanes, it certainly seems like there’s plenty of time to plan. It’s not always so, however. Many people thought they’d planned just fine during Hurricane Irene in 2011. That is, until the water started to rise higher and higher, quickly and unexpectedly.

Take the time to plan for pets and other animals in case of emergency. They’ll appreciate it.