With hurricane Florence making her way up the East Coast, Maryland Department of Agriculture has put out several tips on how best to prepare for hurricane season.
Below are recommendations specific for farm owners to prepare for hurricanes or tornadoes that may impact our area:

  • Pump and collect adequate supplies of drinking water in case of electrical failures.
  • Top off all gasoline, propane, and other fuel tanks.
  • Check operations of all portable generators.
  • Remove or secure all loose objects that could be moved by high winds.
  • Board all glass windows and other similar items that could break from high winds or from objects being blown against them.
  • Have available portable radios, extra batteries, flashlights, and candles.
  • Follow instructions and advice given by emergency officials.

It’s important that you follow any instructions to evacuate as high-speed projectiles, roof collapse, and flooding can pose a serious risk to your life. Once the storm has died down you should carefully examine your property and buildings for signs of structural weakness and damage, as these could collapse in the days after the hurricane.

Long-term preparedness for hurricanes is often the best defence, and in preparation for next season you may want to do some of the following:

  • Install impact-resistant shutters over windows and glass doors, or use hurricane panels/barriers to protect against debris.
  • Use Hurricane Glass which is less likely to break in a hurricane
  • Roof your buildings with hurricane-resistant asphalt shingles as many can resist speeds of 130/mph (see https://roofinginsights.com/best-asphalt-shingles/ for more information)

Lastly, the Department of Agriculture has put out these specific tips to pet and livestock owners:

  • Move all poultry and livestock to high ground and shelter them in securely battened barns, houses, or tightly fenced areas.
  • Cover and secure all water, food, and medical supplies for poultry and livestock.
  • Ensure that all animal holding areas are as clean and sanitary as possible.
  • Notify the Maryland Department of Agriculture through MEMA or call the department’s Animal Health program at (410) 841-5971 if any agricultural assistance is needed before, during, or after the storm, including injured animals in need of veterinary assistance or deceased animals that require disposal.

To read the full MDA press release, click here: http://news.maryland.gov/mda/press-release/2018/09/10/maryland-department-of-agriculture-urges-hurricane-preparedness-plans-to-include-pets-livestock/