Encouraging horse owners to be prepared and have a bushfire plan in the case of a fire was the focus of CFS community engagement officer, Penny Kazala, who attended the Two Wells Equestrian and Pony Club’s Twilight Showjumping event last month.
Penny spoke with riders and horse owners one-to-one in between showjumping rounds, and said her role was to assist people who live, work, or travel in bushfire prone areas to be prepared.
“We are aware horse owners, unlike traditional pet owners, are not able to just pop their pets in a car and leave in case of a fire,” she said.
“The CFS has a practical guide to help people and assist them to prepare well in advance of any bushfire emergency.”
Penny said in the event of a fire, horse owners should consider whether they needed to relocate their horse or if their property could be prepared to the point where their animals could stay.
“Just as everyone should have a home safety fire plan, anyone who lives in a bushfire prone area should have a bushfire survival plan,” she said.
“If you don’t have your horse on your own property, you should discuss with the landowner what their bushfire safety plan is and what they expect you to do with your horse or horses.
“We’re really trying to avoid people trying to perform last minute evacuations.
“Some fires just move too quickly for anyone to get into the area safely and relocate animals once the fire has started.”
Penny said it was up to members of the horse community to have these kinds of discussions amongst themselves and organise “bushfire buddies” in case of a fire emergency.
“It might be that actually some horse owners just discuss between themselves what they might do if a bushfire broke out where they lived,” she said.
“We encourage horse owners to get bushfires buddies, where they make those arrangements amongst themselves, or between neighbours or friends, about what they would do.
“This is about keeping people and their horses safe, and that’s something ultimately all horse owners want.”
The CFS Horses and Bushfires Guide is available from the CFS website at www.cfs.sa.gov.au