Alta. emergency trailers helpful during disasters

Alberta producers seeking help in livestock emergencies are able to access specialized trailers equipped with first responders and tools to resolve situations.

The emergency livestock handling equipment trailers, administered by the Alberta Farm Animal Care Association (AFAC), can help producers in incidents such as cattle liner rollovers, barn collapses, fires, floods and with stuck animals.

“I think they’ve been pretty effective,” said Kristen Lepp, communications co-ordinator with AFAC.

“Responders who come with these trailers are trained in large animal rescue. When you get the trailer, you get the equipment and the expertise.”

Eighteen trailers are in operation across Alberta, largely in the southern and central regions, though one is located in the northern Municipal District of Greenview.

They are typically housed at fire stations or county offices, equipped with snow fences, straps, ties, livestock panels, tarps and first-aid kits.

“Anyone can call if they ever need one,” Lepp said.

“They are spread out fairly well, though there is a gap in northern Alberta.”

She said the trailers were requested only nine times in 2012, but that increased to 20 last year.

“Because of the huge jump, I think the awareness is growing for the trailers,” she said.

“We would like to assist people even more.”

Lepp said people finding themselves in a livestock emergency should first call 911, which can dispatch the trailers. However, producers can also call AFAC’s emergency alert line or their local county fire department for help.

AFAC’s emergency number is 800-455-9003.

Lepp said AFAC has no funding to build more trailers, but it’s administering an emergency livestock handling equipment program to help train producers.

“We’re here to help anybody who wants to put a trailer in their area,” she said.

“We can help look for funding opportunities, we have lists of contact people or any ideas to access equipment.”

She hopes awareness of the trailers grows.

“It’s growing quite a bit, but we would like to see that even more.”

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