Disaster strikes when you least expect it. However, it’s a different story for natural disasters. Depending on the type of event, some natural disasters allow us time to prepare and lessen its effects on lives and property.
Farmers who have steel buildings as animal facilities (horse stables, barns, etc.) have lesser reasons to worry about since these structures are better prepared to withstand disasters such as hurricanes, floods and wildfires.
In any case, disaster preparedness may not be successful, but there is a greater chance of reducing the ill effects of any unfortunate event by proper planning.
Part of disaster preparedness is to ensure the safety of the animals and the integrity of the structures after the event. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imparted the following guidelines on what plans to make to lessen the damage and downtime on animal facilities when disasters strike.
Some of these are:
Know Your Priorities. Of course, the safety and protection of your farm animals is your top priority. Aside from them, identify the most expensive and irreplaceable items in the facility that are essential in its operation. If the risk is high, make arrangements for a safe location where the animals and movable inventory can be relocated.
Shutter or board glass windows and doors to prevent them from shattering, which may cause serious injuries to animals during hurricanes. Purchase fire extinguishers if you still don’t have one or if you have the means, install a fire alarm system and sprinklers.
Insurance. Evaluate your insurance coverage at least once a year. Nowadays, floods and storm surges occur even in areas that were not prone to flooding before. Get in touch with the Emergency Management Department and find out if your facility is on the flood plain or storm surge map.
Steel buildings are known to be fire-resistant and non-combustible. For this reason, their insurance premiums are lower. Compared to wood-based structures, there is a greater chance of containing the fire in steel buildings since steel is inherently fire resistant. However, for structural stability, a form of fire protection can be applied to the material to insulate it from the effects of high temperatures.
Evaluate Your Animal Facility. Based on the location of the facility, assess the potential disasters in your area. How vulnerable is it to floods, storm surges, wildfires, power outages, earthquakes or exposure to hazardous materials? Also, know the state of your animal facility. Are there dangers posed by the actual structure?
Do the doors and windows have hurricane shutters? Is the roof secure? Check also the electrical wiring for overloading and exposed wires. Get rid of trees and underbrush surrounding the facility.
With steel buildings, there is a better chance for protection for your farm animals.
Properly designed and correctly assembled steel buildings have the ability to stand up to unfavourable weather conditions such as floods, high winds, heavy snow and earthquakes.