By Victoria Martinez
Santa Ynez Valley Star
When the Thomas Fire and other disasters strike, the community quickly comes together to meet not only the human but also the animal needs throughout the Santa Ynez Valley.
However, Dawn Perrine and Julie Monser, two women heavily involved in the local equine community, believe that there’s a need for more organization and training to safely help animals during a crisis.
The women have coordinated with a number of organizations and agencies to hold an Equine Emergency Preparedness Expo at 9 a.m. Jan. 20 at the Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Center.
“The goal of this event is to organize ourselves, so we can work under the incident command system in an emergency,” Perrine said. “I’ve been talking about it for a long time. We have to organize so we can get [the animals] out of immediate danger, know who we are, and where we can go with them.”
Santa Barbara Equine Evacuation and Assistance Team, Horse Emergency Evacuation Team (H.E.E.T.), Cal Fire, local veterinarians, ham radio operators, and others will provide information, resources and training throughout the event to teach those attending how to prepare themselves, their horses, their homes, and their facilities for any emergency.
In addition, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department is scheduled to hold a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Express course in the afternoon.
This two-hour class touches on the basics of the FEMA-based CERT class as well as a few other emergency situations. Topics include how to handle a fire extinguisher, locate utilities, fire safety, basic first aid, home/work safety tips, urban search and rescue, basic triage, active shooter survival, and how to prepare for natural disasters.
Though attendees won’t receive the FEMA CERT certificate, they will learn how to stay calm, think clearly, and act decisively in an emergency.
Event organizers said they are grateful to the Santa Ynez Valley Riders and the Santa Ynez Equestrian Center for their sponsorship and donation of facilities for the day.
The Equestrian Center is at 195 N. Refugio Road in Santa Ynez, south of Highway 246. For more information, visit the Equine Emergency Preparedness Expo group on Facebook or call Julie Monser at 805-264-3422 or Dawn Perrine at 805-245-6727.