Are you prepared for bushfire? Have you and your family practised your plan? YOU are responsible for your own horses.

A3 Pet Posters_Horse1_001


Visit the CFS website to find out about preparing your Bushfire Plan including

1. PREPARING for a bushfire. Lots of templates, lists and links on this page – include your pets and horses! The CFS has also prepared a CFS Horses and Bushfires Fact Sheet.

2. ACT & STAY INFORMED during a fire threat

3. SURVIVE  a fire. Includes a personal bushfire survival kit.

4.  Join the Horse SA e-news list on the website homepage. It will be used to send out information. Horse SA will also update our Facebook page Horse SA



For horse owners:

Bushfire Survival Tips for Horse Owners: Recorded webinar with Penny Kazla, CFS

CFS horse owner page

Horse Deals Dec 2014  “Save My Horse” four page spread



Here is a sample kit for your horse:

  • Feed for at least 3 days
  • Buckets
  • Copies of horse identification, veterinary records & proof of ownership
  • Spare head collars with long leads (not nylon)
  • Blankets / rugs – natural fibre
  • Fluorescent spray paint, Livestock Marking Crayon
  • Recorded diet for your animals
  • Recorded dose and frequency for each medication your horse uses. Provide and veterinary contact information for refills
  • Post detailed instructions in several places at home – Animal ID + your photo for any stock left behind

Ensure you have battery-powered radios and extra batteries and tune to your local ABC radio.  In Adelaide this is 891

 A Quick Checklist

Horse owners,  horse organisations or horse event managers need to make sure that they help themselves, the CFS, themselves, neighbours and Government by:

  1. Preparing a Bushfire Survival Plan, share it with staff, volunteers, club members and agistment clients; making sure it is activated.
  2. Advise your local CFS if there is an event or “gathering” of horses in their area
  3. Keeping yourself well informed during danger periods (which may have electricity turned off) via battery-powered radio and by calling the Bushfire Information Hotline number: 1300 362 361.
  4. Registering your Property with PIRSA (Property Identification Code or PIC). This information is used in emergency response and recovery. Phone (08) 8207 7900.  This helps logistics /planning in any type of emergency- disease or natural disaster
  5. Uniquely identifying each horse with permanent (microchip/brands) and temporary ID (e.g. Livestock markers and tags in the mane) Clear photos will also come in useful. Identification aids reunions or you may also need “proof of ownership”
  6. Preparing a survival kit to last you and your horses for 96 hrs without power/water or help- have this ready at hand for use on your property to load onto the float
  7. Place your email address on the Horse SA email list as this will be used as one mechanism disseminate horse related information
  8. Firebuddies (contact list) and Open Paddocks (Facebook page) – are volunteer services that helps you either find horse holding areas in low fire risk areas or offer horse accommodation in a low risk area..if your club networks cannot assist. Remember that normal agistment contracts are recommended, even for very short stays.  Post disaster “stays” can last for 6 – 9 months so setting expectations by the land owner is very important.

Other horse related FB pages to join are:

Bushfires SA Assistance

Murray Bridge and Surrounds Bushfire Group for Horse Owners


Note: Horse SA or the CFS cannot prepare your property for you, write your bushfire survival plan, move horses during a fire, organise float convoys or move horses on high fire danger days. The CFS can provide advice that will assist you in preparing for a bushfire and tips for putting your plan into action.

ATTEND A HORSE SA EVENT: From time to time, Horse SA will conduct “Bushfire Survival Planning” Info sessions for Horse Owners. Keep an eye out on our events section for upcoming sessions, or you may like to contact the CFS Education Unit to arrange a session to be conducted at your club or for your neighbourhood. Visit the website event page here




As part of a coordinated government response to a major disaster including fire, flood and storms, there will be services provided to support humans which may include food, housing, health & counselling and coordinated sections supporting livestock, pets and native animals.  This does not happen with every fire (or flood) but with those which are a “Declared Emergency” under the Act or emergencies determined to have an impact on livestock.

Tasks will include location and assessment of injuries to animals and livestock,  coordination of destruction & disposal, veterinary treatment, emergency fodder & water supplies and containment of  stock. Control centres based on the scale of the event will coordinate veterinary treatment and emergency fodder and water supplies.

Horse SA promotes preparation for emergencies and assists with recovery afterwards. Horse SA is not a ‘response agency’ and cannot ‘rescue’ or evacuate horses or undertake any roles that are the domain of emergency services or accredited organisations under the state government e.g. SAVEM, RSPCA or PIRSA.

The key roles of Horse SA are around:

  •     Promoting the preparation of horse properties and horse owners for emergencies
  •     Interfacing with government response & recovery teams to advocate for horse owners where possible
  •     Disseminating information
  •     Attending public meetings and organising horse industry briefings
  •     Advocating to government to cater for gaps and address critical shortages related to horses

The media will provide information on what government support is being made available, in partnership with other non-government agencies.



  • Have a written plan AND PRACTICE
  • Let neighbours & colleagues know where you are going and leave contact information.
  • Determine evacuation routes and “safe places/paddocks” ahead of time (bushfire buddies website)
  • Leave as soon as possible to avoid road closures.  traffic and bad weather, especially if you will be pulling a float
  • Be sure to take enough food, water, and medications to support your animals for at least 72 hours/? horses left behind?
  •  Turn off electricity at the mains (Gates, Garage doors?)
  •  Plan as you may not be able to come back for three or more days
  • Register with an official emergency evacuation centre if one has been set up as you may have relatives or friends trying to trace you



  •  Do not lock horses in a stable. They could be trapped if the building were to catch fire, flood, have something fall on it, or collapse. Let them out into a paddock and shut the stable door afterwards as horses have been known frequently to run back into a stable – only to die by fire
  • Sort out automatic gates, doors, garages so they can work off of power not be locked shut when the power goes off
  •  Have enough food and hay for at least 3 days. Store these in sealed containers or plastic bags and place as high off the ground as possible (flood)
  •  Have enough water for at least 3 days. Use large garbage cans to fill with water and cover with lid. Do not rely on automatic waterers. Have some water purification tablets available
  •  Have a chain saw, fuel, hammers, saw, nails, screws, and fencing materials to make repairs to keep livestock and horses contained
  •  Do not stay outside with your horse during the fire, flood or storm
  • After the storm, flood or fire, examine your property for burning embers, fallen objects, sharp objects and other dangerous materials, contaminated water, downed power lines, water and gas leaks, and dangerous wildlife
  • Examine horses for injuries and signs of illness.


AFTER THE FIRE (refer to webinars recorded about treating fire affected horses)

Skin burns produce severe inflammation, indicated by heat, pain and swelling.  Thus first aid must be anti-inflammatory i.e. cold water delivered by a  hose or gentle sponging if you still have access to a water supply. It  is also important that horses have access to feed and water, shade and too  soft, even ground if their feet are burnt, or you suspect they may be burnt or have been on very hot ground.

First Aid – Smoke Inhalation

Severe smoke inhalation can cause delayed lung damage, which may not be  immediately obvious. Horses may appear normal after the fire but in 3-4  hrs can become anxious with rapid, sometimes laboured, breathing and an  elevated heart rate. These horses need urgent veterinary treatment.

Re-introducing Horses to Burned Areas

Care must be taken introducing horses to burned areas. There may be hotspots  that could flare up without warning. Particularly burned structures and  trees may be unstable and suddenly fall over. Make sure the fencing is  secure. Check for ash pits – areas where root systems have burned underground,  downed power lines and dangerous debris before turning horses out into  a burned paddock. If possible, keep horses on unburned areas or off on other agistment for several weeks before returning to their own paddocks. As a priority, consideration must been given  to a land management property plan which will prevent dust, mud and erosion  and ensure good pasture growth in the following rains. Weeds, which may  be toxic, are often the first plants to emerge in a horse paddock post  fire.

Prepare and Practice your Bushfire Survival Plan now!

The distress of having a horse burnt in a bushfire can be magnified by  the lack of readily available first aid measures. This can be compounded  if the fire destroys facilities and prevents any form of communication  to seek help. Good forward planning will protect the safety and well-being of your horses  if you live in a high bushfire risk area. Carefully consider the needs  of your animals when preparing your Bushfire Survival Plan and  practice it regularly.

Psychological First Aid for People




HORSE_EMERGENCY_FLYER 280913_001Horse SA flyer “Are You & Your Horse Prepared?


Horse Identification Speeds up Reunions

Multiple identification options are recommended for emergencies. Temporary and permanent, including recent photos uploaded onto the Internet where a Google Images may be able to locate.

Horses that are evacuated and horses that stay behind need to have permanent (microchip) and temporary (livestock marker, tags in mane, neck bands etc.) to both speed up reunions and prove ownership. Make sure your horse has your current contact details recorded against his microchip.

Information sheets which have photos of yourself and your horse can be placed  a) Inside the float   b)  In a couple of places around the stable yard on the wall   c) In an easy to find place in the house/office.  This will help people match horses back to their owners if separated by disaster or even a road crash.      Download sheet here: Horse_ID

Ideas & tips

  • Microchip before the emergency and have a copy of the number with you
  • Livestock marking crayon, put your number on the horse in big numbers
  • If branded, clip so info so very clear

for relocating

  • Luggage tag with contact information & Property Identification Code (PIC) braided into the mane or tail (especially if relocating to an emergency venue)
  • Have a halter  that has a name plate/tag with your name and number on it for transport to loan paddocks ready on gates
  • Keep a detailed record of your horses physical appearance including recent side and front photos
  • Do not attach registration papers to the horse. They can get lost or misplaced



Triage of Horses- Pinery Fires 2016 University of Adelaide Equine Health  & Performance Centre Dr Lidwien Verdegaal

Pinery Fire Horse Health- 6 months on University of Adelaide Equine Health & Performance Centre Dr Robin van den Boom

Management of large animals through bushfires – Dr James Meyer”  presentation at “Post Fire Animal Health for Small Landholders”  9 Feb 2015

How to get my horse through bushfire injuries  ” Dr Erik Noschka  presentation at the “Post Fire Animal Health for Small Landholders” 23 Feb 2015

Horse SA – International Large Animal Rescue Conference 2013– has a presentation on horses & Victorian bushfires and Devils on Horseback community emergency equine education program



Bioscurity SA (PIRSA)  Livestock Checklist for Fires

South Australian Fire & Emergency Services Commission

Country Fire Service

State Emergency Service


Devils On Horseback Fact Sheets (Tasmania)

Equine Emergency Planning  EEP Fact Sheet 1 Planning

Equine Emergency Preparation EEP Fact Sheet 2 Preparation

Equine Emergency Plan & Vital Signs Sheet  EEP Fact Sheet 5 EEP Plan and Vital Signs


Queensland Horse CouncilEmergency Tack Box”



Save My Horse – article in Jan 2015 edition of Horse Deals Magazine

Bushfire Preparedness for Small Properties (YouTube)

DPI Victoria  Horses & Emergencies fact sheet series

The Australian Horse Welfare & Rescue Site– collection of links to info from around Australia & experiences

Prepare Your Horse for Bushfire (NSW)   (*** this one is easy to read/well set out)

ACT Emergency Services Agency – Horses & Bushfires

ACT Equestrian Assoc. includes a PlaceStories link of a horse owners experience of fire

HorseSafety Australia

ACT Equestrian Horse Agistment Paddocks Emergency Plan



Emergency Warning Network (National)

Emergency Plus – uses your smart phone location to give accurate GPS reading to match your emergency phone call. Also on Google Plus

Below: Excerpt from 2015 CFS Volunteer Annual Yearbook

Horse SA page