By Raiza Giorgi

Many people keep a stash of emergency supplies and create plans of what to do in case a disaster drives them from their homes.

In rural places like the Santa Ynez Valley, where horses and cattle can outnumber people, two local women have started an event to show owners of horses and other large animals what to do emergencies.

“People don’t think about this stuff until it’s too late, unfortunately. Luckily we have amazing organizations that will help us, but it’s always better to be prepared yourself,” said Dawn Perrine, coordinator for the Equine Emergency Preparedness Expo.

Perrine and Julie Monser have coordinated with a number of organizations and agencies to hold the second annual Equine Emergency Preparedness Expo from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Center.

They will also be hosting a contest this year for people to come and talk about the plans they have made over the last year using the information from last year’s event.

“We invite people to come and talk out their plans and bring their ‘go bags’ so we can help them make sure they are fully prepared,” Perrine said.

Santa Barbara Equine Evacuation and Assistance Team, local veterinarians, 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.

“Last year we had a speaker talk about evacuating horses and we learned that he had been trapped at his facility in the Hill Fire, but he had the forethought of when he was building to fortify it in case that ever happened. He will be speaking about his experience at this event,” Perrine said.

Perrine said the event will include topics such as how to handle a fire extinguisher, how to locate utilities, fire safety, basic first aid, home and work safety tips, urban search and rescue, basic triage and more.

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.

“We are so thankful for all the people that came to last year’s event and participated. It’s so important that we know this information,” Perrine added.

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.