Have you ever wondered what would happen to your animals if a fire were to approach your home or surrounding areas?
Many horse owners work away from their farms or ranches or they lack sufficient trailer space for all of their animals. During the 2002 Highway 58/Parkhill fire, it was apparent the County of SLO had no formal plan for evacuating large animals during an emergency. A concerned group of horse owners decided to address this problem, and organized themselves to develop a plan to evacuate affected livestock. They created a volunteer group that lends its time and equipment at no cost to area residents.
In January of 2003, they created HEET, the Horse Emergency Evacuation Team to fill the gap
HEET provides assistance to residents of San Luis Obispo County, Northern Santa Barbara County, and Southern Monterey County.
CAL FIRE, the SLO County Fire Chiefs Association, SLO County Sheriff and the California Highway Patrol have all been instrumental in implementing training programs. This training allows us to enter certain restricted areas to evacuate animals. With these combined efforts, HEET members have been trained in the Incident Command System, Fire Safety, Red Cross Disaster Services, Human First Aid/CPR, Horse Handling, Trailer Handling, Fire Safety, Large Animal Rescue, Horse Triage, Equine First Aid, and many other subjects. Classes are ongoing and generally open to the public. Our training is ever evolving and expanding as we learn.
HEET started a program to pre-register animals. In the event of a disaster, the information collected during the registration process can expedite evacuation as we have a general idea of the terrain, any driveway or access issues, the amount and types of animals needing evacuation, and how to find your property!
In addition, HEET works with well known local veterinarians, feed stores, ranch owners, fairground officials and local feedlots to ensure all evacuated animals receive the best care possible. All sheltering locations are staffed and photo id and proof of ownership is required to release an animal. We care about your animals and want to make sure they go back home!