Utility outages are generally unexpected and inconvenient. These downtimes can be triggered by a variety of events, including severe weather, wildfire, and other potential hazards.

Livestock Evacuation Documentation Form

Producers should consider the length of time their operations can function without electricity, natural gas, or water. Preparation and appropriate response will minimize the impact of prolonged outages and will help protect your equipment and livestock.

Power Outage Safety Tips

  • Look up and down – look for electrical hazards overhead and underground
  • Stay back – make sure you’re standing at least 10 meters away from fallen power lines
  • Call for help – if you see a power line on the ground, stay back at least 10 meters and call 911
  • Determine what critical equipment and facilities rely on electrical power, natural gas, and/or water. Plan for if these utilities are unavailable
  • Estimate how long can you operate without the utility
  • Determine backup measures and have them available


The following activities may help prepare producers in the event of an emergency:

  • Ensure backup generators are available, in working order and are tested regularly
  • Have sufficient fuel available to run generator(s) for at least seven days
  • Identify locations of electrical breakers, water shut-off, and natural gas/propane shut-off and include on farm site map
  • Ensure electrical panels are well-marked and breakers can easily be turned off
  • Ensure that all cold and freezer storage for items such as milk, nutrients and vaccines are connected to back-up power
  • Test critical equipment with backup power and ensure working as required
  • Identify equipment that should be shut off during a power outage and record the sequence for reinstating power
  • Determine how livestock will be fed and watered during a power failure
  • Identify backup measures to supply heat for animals, if applicable
  • Store battery-operated lights in a location that is easily accessible and have fresh batteries on hand
  • Create a contact list that includes energy suppliers and electrician details
  • Protect sensitive equipment with surge protectors
  • Back up computer files regularly



Cattle – beef and dairy

  • Lactating cows have an increased requirement for water; necessary steps should be taken to ensure those cows and all other affected cattle do not obtain their water intake solely by eating snow
  • Ensure that milking equipment and pumps are powered by generators to prevent milk supplies from spoiling and to reduce the risk of animal mastitis from the inability to perform daily milking activities
  • Ensure that water supply is continuous for all cattle. During the wintertime, ensure that water does not freeze in pipes


  • Ensure horses maintain water intake, especially during the summertime as heat stress is deadly to animals
  • Low forage consumption increases colic risk
  • On an emergency basis horses can use snow as a water source, however supplying them with a source of fresh water during power outages should be a high priority


  • Provide power to poultry barns immediately as drastic changes in temperature can have a detrimental effect on flock health
  • Ensure that power is provided to barns that have electrically powered ventilation systems to ensure proper airflow and prevent oxygen depletion in the barn
  • Ensure any water pumps/ watering equipment is connected as drastic changes to water intake can have a detrimental effect on poultry health


Interested in learning more about the Animal Health Emergency Management project or getting involved?
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