Experience the Equine Emergency Evacuation Expo

You can become a front-line Equine Emergency Evacuation volunteer. Remember the photos of horses running down the street with a wildfire blazing behind them? Did your heart leap out of your chest in wanting to help these terrified creatures? Our local horse community needs you to be trained to help in equine emergency evacuation scenarios. Experience the Equine Emergency Evacuation Expo to get trained or just get information.

*** PRESS RELEASE ***

Santa Ynez – The Third Annual Equine Emergency Expo, will be held Saturday, February 8, 2020 beginning at 9:00 am at the Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Association Party Barn, 195 N Refugio Rd, Santa Ynez, California 93460. This event is hosted by the Santa Ynez Valley Riders and the Horse Emergency Evacuation Team (HEET) of San Luis Obispo County.  The event venue was graciously donated by the Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Association for this event.

Three Programs Educate Equine Evacuation Volunteers

The day-long program will be divided into three Programs.  Participants may attend 1, 2 or all 3 Programs:

Program 1 – 9:00 AM-12:30PM – Equine Emergency Evacuation Advanced Operations Drill and Preparedness Activity.

Learn the jobs and situations encountered as animals are dropped off at a large-animal emergency sheltering site during an evacuation. Attendees will participate in an actual emergency scenario: horses trailering in (do not bring personal horses please!) with activities and scenarios encountered at a sheltering site during an actual large-animal evacuation.  This hands-on drill will incorporate simulated incidents, decision-making, response, and life safety aspects. A discussion of what worked/what did not will follow to make changes for the next disaster situation. Rain or shine; please dress appropriately for the weather.

Participants will be trained by Victoria Beelik, Ventura County’s Department of Animal Services. Emergency Volunteer Rescue Team Coordinator for the emergency evacuation of horses and other livestock.  Enjoy examples of Victoria’s hilarious and entertaining training on YouTube.

HEET – Horse Emergency Evacuation Team of San Luis Obispo County – will be on hand to provide guidance and support.


Program 2 – 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM – Fireline Safety Awareness (Designed for ALL RESIDENTS of the Santa Barbara County). 

There is a $20.00 fee covering both afternoon Programs.  Pre-registration is required at ResQFAST.com. Find the Santa Ynez February 8 course.

Gary Johnson of ResQFAST will teach basic incident management organization, general wildland safety, and the basics of fire behavior.  Topics will include current issues/concerns in the wildland, risk management and entrapment avoidance and hazard recognition and assessment, tools for hazards in disaster situations including earthquake, flood/landslide, fire and others. Powerline, propane/natural gas safety and others you may encounter during disasters will be covered in depth.


Program 3 – 4:00 PM- 5:00 PM – Shelter Deployment Module

Gary Johnson of ResQFAST will review and discuss last resort survival including escape and fire shelter deployment.  Attendees will practice fire shelter deployment (on the ground, bending).  Please dress appropriately.


Biographies of Equine Emergency Instructors

Instructor Victoria Beelik:

Ventura County’s Emergency Volunteer Rescue Team Coordinator for the emergency evacuation of horses and other livestock for the Department of Animal Services. Victoria is a veteran of many recent fires; her three horses had to be evacuated during the Thomas Fire. Her philosophy is to make you laugh and at the same time, help you prepare your large animals for emergencies!

Victoria’s goal is to make sure you have a safe outcome with reduced panic when an emergency happens. You may think you are at an entertainment event rather than a horse emergency planning clinic, but you will walk away from her seminars motivated to start preparing and thinking, “Wow! I didn’t think of that!” As Victoria notes, “The hills are green and full of life. Many think this is the time to relax.  But, it’s the perfect time to start planning for your horse evacuations and horse safety before it turns brown and burnable and the wildfires ignite.”   

Instructor Gary Johnson:

Gary has over 20 years of experience in combination career fire departments in Northern California. He holds an Associates’ Degree in Fire Science, California State Fire Training Fire Officer, Chief Officer, Fire Investigator and registered instructor qualifications. Gary has served as a Firefighter, Engineer and Emergency Command Center dispatcher for CalFire. As a Paramedic for over 15 years he currently holds the position of Fire Captain at a career fire department in Northern California. He is also the founder of the first career fire based Animal Technical Rescue Teams in Northern California. 


By joining these valuable trained personal, attendees will be prepared for any emergency and can save your life and your animals. For more info please contact Julie Monser at (805) 264-3422 or Dawn Perrine at (805) 245-6727.


Speaking of emergencies . . . do you do a pre-check of your truck and horse trailer before hitting the road with your equine pals?


About Santa Ynez Valley Riders

The Santa Ynez Valley Riders (SYVR) is an equestrian riding club dedicated to the sheer enjoyment of trail riding. Since 1952, the Santa Ynez Valley Riders (SYVR) has organized safe, family-oriented trail rides to horse owners from all walks of life. You’re invited to join us for fun and unique trail riding with people who share your passion – a love of horses!  SYVR is open to all breeds and riding styles and stresses safe riding practices on all rides.  SYVR offers opportunities for riders and their horse to trail ride on some of the most beautiful and remote landscapes in Santa Barbara County and the Central Coast area.

About Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Association

The mission of the Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Association is to provide a multi-use facility for equine activities with accompanying educational experiences in order to foster safe and humane horsemanship. Their goal is to develop, maintain and operate our equestrian facility in a manner that preserves and enriches out community’s equestrian lifestyle including youth and therapeutic riding. The center is envisioned as a resource that will attract quality equestrian events and innovative instruction to improve the special relationship between horse and human.

About HEET – Horse Emergency Evacuation Team of San Luis Obispo County

HEET is a non-profit organization with divisions in Northern and Southern San Luis Obispo County and with a recently-formed division in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County. 

Cal Fire, the County Fire Chiefs Assoc., the County Sheriff and CHP have all been instrumental in implementing training programs.  SLO HEET also helps law enforcement respond to large-animal incidents.

With these combined efforts, members have been trained in the Incident Command System, Red Cross Disaster Services, First Aid/CPR, Horse Handling, Trailer Handling, Fire Safety, Large Animal Rescue and Horse Triage & First Aid. 

HEET’s volunteers are trained to evacuate and shelter horses during a disaster—including wildfires, an overturned trailer with horses inside, or abandoned horses. Classes are ongoing and expanding so all necessary areas are covered.

In addition, HEET works with veterinarians, feed store, ranch owners, fairground officials and local feedlots to ensure all evacuated animals receive the best care possible.

Find more information on the HEET website.

About the Halter Project

The HALTER Project provides first responders and their communities with information and resources for animal emergencies. In any situation: road accident, fire, flood, earthquake, landslide, or pasture, the best outcome for animals and humans is achieved through teamwork between trained first-responders, veterinarians, and animal owners working safely together.

The HALTER Project:

  • supports training and research focused on animal emergency response
  • provides training scholarships for first-responders
  • provides financial assistance to first-responder agencies for animal rescue equipment
  • supports and encourages community and neighborhood safety outreach projects
  • produces Ranch Readiness Day
  • maintains an on-line resource library for preparedness, emergency kits, and education information

Our local equestrian community needs your help in an emergency situation. Come enjoy the camaraderie and get trained to help. Get the Equine Emergency Evacuation Expo on your calendar for February 8, 2020.

Contact for Equine Emergency Expo

To learn more about this event, please contact Julie Monser (805) 264-3422 or Dawn Perrine (805) 245-6727.


Developing your trip pre-check of your horse trailer and truck can be made easier using our downloadable checklist. You can bring it up on your phone to use as a guide. Also you can print it out, slip it in a plastic sleeve and mount it inside your tack room door. Using a wet erase pen, you can then mark on it every time you haul horses.   We’ll continue to add horsing around stories to our website. You can stay up-to-date by becoming a SLO Horse News herd member. Get your Horse Trailer and Truck Trip Pre-Check Checklist here >.

Guest Author

Stories sent by SLO community horse enthusiasts for publication in SLO Horse News. Send your stories to Info@slohorsenews.net.

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