Equine Rescue is a Team Effort

Habitat for Horses’ Disaster Response Team is a group of trained staff and volunteers who have completed FEMA certification and stand ready to roll when disaster strikes. Under an agreement with Galveston County, we’re responsible for search and rescue, temporary housing and return of all equines displaced by a disaster. 

We’re an experienced crew. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we brought around 200 horses to a staging area and helped with their care. Hurricane Rita struck shortly after and we were called back into action. We conducted more search and rescue operations after hurricanes Ike and Harvey. After each disaster, we helped with the care and return of horses to their owners.

Want to Join Our Disaster Response Team?

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when the next disaster will hit in Galveston County. We need volunteers who can bring their trucks and trailers, haul water to distant ranches and set up stalls. We’ll need hands willing to clean, groom and calm highly stressed animals. We’ll want brave souls willing to wrap bandages on cut legs and photograph and document injuries — everything. We’ll even need more volunteers at the ranch. 

Please understand that, depending on the size of the hurricane, there may be no electricity for a week or more, no restaurants, only rare gas stations and no hotels. But there will be a lot of very grateful horses and donkeys. 

If you want to go out with us in the immediate aftermath to perform rescue, there are very specific requirements beginning with training and certification from the FEMA Emergency Management Institute. You can get a look at what’s required here. 

There are other requirements as well, but the first step is letting us know that you will make yourself and your skills available. So if you’re up for the job, email us at office@habitatforhorses.org. We’ll need your full name, phone number and skills (horse knowledge, medical, record keeping, etc.). We’ll also want to know if you have a truck/trailer and where you live. Then we’ll reach out to you with details.

Be Ready When Disaster Strikes

When the wind is howling and the water is rising, it’s too late to think about disaster preparedness. At that point, you’ll be in survival mode and thinking about what to save... yourself, your loved ones, your animals...

So it’s best to get ready now. If you have horses and other livestock (or companion animals for that matter), you should have a plan for their safety. This fact sheet, provided by the USDA, is a great resource.