Hurricane Evacuation - Would You Do it Again?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
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Fema Disaster map

Horse owners in Florida - I would like some HONEST feedback, from those who can do so. If you had it to do over, and were in a position financially to do so, would you evacuate (if you did not evacuate) or would you not evacuate (if you did) when getting the news of the intensity of the hurricane headed to Florida?

Valerie Macri
If I had been in a financial position to do so, I would have bailed. With the horses, dogs cats and chickens!

Audrey Maschue
I did not evacuate, and I am glad I didn't as we faired very well. I had planned to evacuate and then decided it might be safer to stay considering the # of horses I had and the space on trailers available. However, Irma was as strong of a storm as I would want to weather at home. And unfortunately the time to evacuate is well before we know how strong it will actually be and where it's most likely to go.

So, I'm constantly having this conversation with myself, do I leave if an Irma situation arises again (at the time of safe travel it was projected to make land fall as a 4 or a 5) or do I risk it...

Probably next time I'd go.

Irene Hoeflich-Wiederhold
We stayed, ended up in the eye and would do it again. Not leaving. Rather stay put and fix and change everything possible right here on the spot. Just got power back last night, seven days with no power, now no Internet. Really want to know what's happening, so we will always stay.

Chelsie Raabe
I did not evacuate my horse, I was already out of town- I wouldn't have anyways. He lives in a cinder block barn with no large trees and I would not want to haul a horse in the traffic I had to endure to get back into the state.

Lisa Lewis
I evacuated with 3 horses reason being size and intensity of the storm I have a 5 acre farm and this financially set me very far back. I knew I could have property damage but would not be able to live with myself if my horses were harmed, it was a tough week, I had planned on staying at a hurricane safe barn in Wellington but was informed on Wednesday they were full so that was my omen to leave. Horses were shipped out Thursday before the storm started. Came home to lots of debris and cleanup but no structural damage thank you GOD!

Diane Warstler
Evacuated, but early, I left Tues 3:00 am. No traffic!. Better yet, leave for hurrican season completely, summers are so brutal in Wellington. Horses and dogs so happy to be out of there. And me too!

Christie Lehnert-Slayton
We evacuated. Had to make 2 trips each way due to the number of horses. Since we had to leave early we ended up going into the storm and ended up in the eye! Then, due to the lack of fuel I could not bring the second load home for 2 days. Expensive, the traffic was horrible, Tiring. I would do it again if I felt there was going to be a Direct hit of a Cat 3 or higher. I just keep remembering the stories of Andrew.

Pamela Knisley
We have been thru many hurricanes here in FL throughout the years, in Palm Beach County, St Lucie County and now Levy County. I have always had too many animals to evacuate. We prepared the best we could and have gotten thru OK, some with more damage than others, So to answer your question, no we would not evacuate but ride it out.

When looking for property here in Florida you need to be smart and be knowledgeable about where you are moving. In other words don't buy in low lying areas or FL swamp land,

Karol Shumate Fair
When we lived in Jacksonville, we evacuated if the storm was above a Cat 1. However at that time we only had 1 horse, 2 dogs and 2 small children.

Alicia Slocumb
We evacuated the ponies on Friday, then returned home before the storm. Glad we did, as we have huge trees with lots of limbs down. Still cleaning up debris, so haven't brought the ponies home yet.

Charlotte Trentelman
In Ocala, best to stay put if you have a solid barn and a generator.

Anne Raisner In St. Augustine.
I evacuated once 14 years ago and will never do it again. I have a concrete block barn (reinforced) on high land with hurricane clips on the trusses. We also have a generator. I would only evacuate if I were in an area that floods. OR if a category 5 was going to make a direct hit.

What I find interesting is where people go when they evacuate. There were people from Jacksonville that went to Tallahassee. Tallahassee people came to Jacksonville. People went to Ocala. Ocala people left to head north. I do want to add that if I lived in south Florida - I would leave. You are between the Atlantic Ocean and the Everglades.

Heather Brutvan Schneider
We evacuated with 11 horses and 3 dogs, 2 humans, and I have done the same every single hurricane with the exception of Wilma who the forecasters said would be "no big deal - was not coming our way". Never again would I stay for anything over a cat 1 without a concrete block facility thats very high and dry. We are less then 10 miles to the beach mind you. Our horses are our family and our livelihood. If evacuation is your preference: Having a plan well in advance is the key. So is having your own truck(s) and trailer(s) or have the funds to pay a professional shipper (both ways) - We left well ahead of the storm so traffic wasn't a problem. Also making sure well in advance that everyone has coggins to travel. We were extremely lucky to dodge a bullet. AGAIN, my opinion: I would rather leave and come back to no problems then be home with 11 horses and big problems.

Maggie Fullington In Palm Beach Gardens 

We stayed because we are prepared. Barn rated to 180 mph winds and a full farm generator. Had evacuated 13 years ago and never again if possible. Too hard on horses and people! So I built a sturdy barn instead. That being said I was watching the storm very carefully and had my great friend Jim Welsh (Elite Horse Transport) ready to pick us up and go if it became necessary. Also had great friends helping me find places to go and other wonderful friends offering us shelter for all of us (horses, dogs, cats, parrots, chickens and a pig!) Having a plan for both and friends willing to help is everything!

Connie Thoreson
Certainly not, in Ocala or Central Florida, South Florida. Truly I do not believe many evacuated from Ocala. Surely didn't look that way. We did have some trees down and some flooding, but no serious problems. Been here for over 20 years, and the worst was no electricity for a week.

Marcia Yeager
If on high ground in central or northern Florida I would stay but would have a whole house propane generator, stone, brick, or block house and barn.

Terri Rollins Kane
We evacuated with all the horses and would do nothing differently. We were very fortunate but once it is too late, you can not change your mind. We are in Wellington. We went to Tryon and they could not have been any more welcoming. The horses love being there. However, if it is cat 1 or 2 we would stay because my farm, Diamante can handle up to 3. Too often a Cat 3 can turn to a cat 4 at the last minute so if projected 3, we would move to a safer area.

Shaana Herlocher Risley
Evacuate.. but at least 1 wk ahead of the prospected landfall versus 4 days before storm expected to make landfall.

Lynda Jowers
We are in north central FL so we stayed and were glad we did

Grace Anne Glavin
We live in eastern Seminole County with a well built wooden barn well maintained. In the past, we evacuated the horses and dogs in our 6 horse trailer at least twice up to Claudette Robinson's place way inland in the foothills of the Carolina mountains. Elizabeth and I would fly away somewhere. Now, we shelter in place with a really big generator that works sometimes. Better to leave, if you leave many days early and can get off the FL peninsula.

Jaclyn Johnsen
We stayed. I'm in central FL. We had little damage thankfully. Power was the biggest issue because we have a well. The idea of no water for the horses is scary. We have already started working on plans for the future to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Lynn Schneider
This was my 1st hurricane live in Ocala was going back & forth 2 go or stay. I found out horses were being evauated to Ocala. I  have 2 strong cement barns. If wanted to battened down hatches and prepare like it was a blizzard. I have generator and cement block with cement filled walls. The home was boarded up windows metal roof just tree damage thank you Jesus

Laura Quinn
We packed up and moved 16 horses and all the dobermans to our friends cbs barn. It was worth the stress of moving in order to avoid the stress of worrying. We are in North Florida these days but had I still been in Wellington I would've wanted out.

Shannon Rogers Simpson
My sister evacuated to me in VA and she would do it all over again. You never know what could happen that you have no control over.

Anna Crothers
I have stayed put for storms since moving to Florida in 1999 and have not regretted it better home them away.

Leah Winston
I didnt and that's how I would keep it in the future. I'm confident from knowing our barn went through Wilma Gene and Frances and survived it well. It's a concrete structure and I know our land is high and mostly dry. It drained right away.

I have two non sweaters that would never had made a trailer ride. I knew the driving rain and wind would keep them cooled during the storm in their stalls and the generators were there for the aftermath with no power. I wanted to keep their lives as normal as possible before and return to normal after asap.

I stored ample water for 11 horses prior to the storm. It lasted 4 days. That's the only thing I'd do different. Store more water. I was worried about a second structure. And also the large oaks. But they aren't close enough to barn to damage it.

Ann Reilly
Easy answer. I stayed but I will NEVER stay again. NEVER...ever....Matthew I had a severe colic, horse's heart stopped twice. James Sheffield Belden saved him and we miraculously got him to clinic for surgery. I was a nervous wreck over him this time but took huge precautions. It would have been easier and less stressful (no power etc) to just put them in trailer and drive. I will NEVER stay again...I will leave at midnight and go ahead of the crowd.

I was in a tornado at barn this time and had to go to clinic to calm a horse down who was there with hurt leg ( not mine) during the hurricane. Just too exhausting.

Jenny Schier
Great place to visit is all I can state. Common sense when purchasing property and inland if horses. I love you all and prayed and worried endlessly. I couldn't live w the stress the hurricane season brings.

Skye Newkirk
We stayed but we have a nice/newer cinder block barn. I'm inland to Tampa and we were supposed to get hit directly. I have 16 horses and 8 of my own. If I had 2 horses I would have evacuated, but so many was a huge and stressful chore...If I did not have a block barn I would have evacuated all of them. We never lost power and had only leaves and a few small branches and minor flooding...phew.

Luis Reteguiz-Denizard
I evacuated with 14 horses in tow, I have no regrets. Would do again with info I had. I really feared for all staying and was glad I was wrong, but a storm of that size and strength was no joke.

Nathalie Latendresse Ferrato
Condition and type of barn and fencing matter and age at the time of storm. AS do the truck and trailers you own all to be considered in decision making process. This is my 6th storm three were directly over us as CAT 3. For the first my kids were little left the horses with husband and took kids away when fences and barns were newer and strong etc. They all did great here trees down fences fine, house etc. only the neighbors roof that flew into one of our paddocks. We drove west to avoid it and ended up being in it worse with the kids. Learned to stay put they never know where it's going and the number of accidents keeps me home.

This time my fences were due for replacement and the storm knocked them down as expected all well horses, people no one injured but my property if very clear for the horses to find safe spaces and huddle if out and their stand alone stalls are designed in a sturdy manner that is open and lets the wind pass through so they have stood through all 6 just fine no damage at all.

Every person has to make it their own choice. I use preventive measures to calm the horses with minerals, proper mashes they are use to already and homeopathic remedies that calm, sooth and prevent colic both during and after the storm.

I consult with my homeopathic professional to ensure I don't forget anything and have it all ready ahead of time. Well planned out strategies work well reduce injury to all and promote safety.

I am also mental and physically capable of handling many injuries on my own till a vet can arrive and have a first aid kit at the ready to deal with any injuries they may get. They haven't even had a scratch on all 6 storms some they stayed out some they stayed in depending on how we felt things were going through out the storm and we monitored them every two or three hours to ensure they were ok and made changes as needed.

Kathy Farris
I would always evacuate! One day an Andrew will hit with severe tornadoes and nothing is safe I don't want to take chances! A hurricane is one disaster u can get away from and I will do just that!

Hilary Moore Hebert
This is a slight tangent but multiple people contacted us and asked my architectural engineer husband for advice when staying. PLEASE pass on that for those staying, your hurricane proof buildings are only as good as the doorway and window covers you have. The biggest problem multiple people had, was that they didn't have doors on every doorway into their hurricane-proof barn. If wind gets in, it can cause problems with flying debris and/or rip your roof off and/or push the other doors open. 

Kathrin Dancer
I would evacuate if there is the likely hood of a cat 2 or bigger

Jim Wright
I did not, and would not evacuate. I road out Andrew with 56 horses at our near Homestead location (we were on the north eyewall) and could not have shipped them all safely. Now in Weirsdale (down to 2 older [28 & 27]) I might evacuate if I had enough information to leave at least 7-10 days before, however that info is doubtful. I feel we, and they, are safer here than caught on the road, without adequate gas, and under horrid tragic conditions.

Melissa Brown Burns
I have always stayed in Wellington with my horses. I would only leave for a cat 5.

Kari Garber
I would do it again without hesitation. We were in a mandatory evacuation zone, my horse was not. Family is family, no one gets left behind.

Beth Barritt
I did not. Feared it may have been the wrong decision but it wasn't. Putting horses in trailers in bumper to bumper traffic, 90 plus degrees, little to no gas is why I didn't evacuate.

Jeanne L Abbott
No I stay put and put ponies out in open field. More risk in being on I was bumper to bumper for days moving at a stand still in high temps Like ·

Mistie Cantey
I would evacuate. A week without fans, water and ac is no fun. Nevermind the potential danger.

Lisa McLeod
I did not...mainly because I could not get them all in one load. I did move my big horses to a Cat 4 rated barn. If I could get all on one load then yes I would have evacuated. It was far too much anxiety with 11 tornado warnings and the sound of the wind. However...the issue really is that you have to leave "early enough" and then where to go to.

Jacki Holland
I am in VA but if I were in a solid barn, I would stay put. Afraid of debris flying so out in a field would scare me.

Linda Evans
By the time we knew Irma was coming our way for sure, it was too late to evacuate without risking sitting in 90+ degree heat on I-75 with horses cooking in the trailer, being able to purchase gas to make the trip and finding lodging if we needed to overnight. So, we hunkered down at home and prayed. We put ID tags on the horses and let them have the run of the pasture and barn so they could choose where they felt the safest. Not having experienced it before, it was very frightening. I was mostly afraid for my horses more than us humans. So blessed to only have trees down and no damage to structures, animals or people.

Monica Sinks
I did and so glad I did.

Mary Glissman-Paul
I did not evacuate either time in past two years and was glad I did not.

Suzanne Dansby
Evacuate. The predictions are limited, and better to be safe than sorry...always! It is worth it. Like · Reply ·