Hail, Ice and Blizzards

Getting Your Barn Ready for Hail, Ice and Blizzards

Check with your municipality regarding their policy on winter road closures and accessibility by feed trucks.

If you have animals housed in an off-site barn, plan how to get to the barn for feeding if the roads are closed (e.g. snowmobile, contact someone at or nearer to the barn site, etc.).

Prevent access to areas under roofs where snow could fall and cause injury. Consider ice breakers or ice guards for steel roofs to protect personnel from the possibility of falling ice and snow hazards.

Managing the Event

Be aware that ice, branches or power lines can continue to break and fall for several hours after the end of an ice storm.

Never approach downed or hanging power lines as they could be charged (live) and you could be electrocuted. Stay back at least 33 feet (10 metres) from wires or anything in contact with them. Report the line down to your local power company.

If excessive snow accumulates on roofs or a roof shows signs of distress, arrange for safe snow removal.

Check that generator is functioning and has adequate fuel.

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A Tornado Event

Personal, Family and Staff Safety 

Canada gets more tornadoes than any other country except the U.S., averaging about 60 per year.

    • If a tornado is spotted in the distance, go to the nearest solid shelter;
      • If outside, get as close to the ground as possible, protect your head and watch for flying debris;
    • If driving and the tornado is close, get out of vehicle and take cover in a low-lying area, such as a ditch;
      • Do not take shelter under an overpass or a bridge. Winds can accelerate under an overpass or a bridge and cause injury or death from flying debris.

Large buildings with wide-span roofs may collapse if a tornado hits.

If you are in one of these buildings and cannot leave, take cover under a sturdy structure such as a table or desk. If you are in the home or office, go to the basement or take shelter in a small interior ground floor room such as abathroom, closet, or hallway. Alternatively, protect yourself by taking shelter under a heavy table, desk, or work bench. Stay away from windows, outside walls and doors. If possible, cover your body with a blanket or sleeping bag; protect your head with anything available, even your hands.

Barn damage or destruction from tornadoes can have a variety of impacts that cross over many sections in this resource. Ensure you have your barn safety plan, flock relocation or humane euthanasia plan in place as well as your general emergency plan for injury to humans.

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A tornado WATCH is issued when weather conditions favor the formation of tornadoes, for example, during a severe thunderstorm. Be prepared to take shelter immediately if conditions worsen.

A tornado WARNING is issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar. You should take shelter immediately!

Response Procedures

Survey the outside and inside of your barns and other buildings for structural damage, sharp objects, downed power lines, damaged gas lines, or other hazards. Assess the stability and safety.

  • Be aware of hazards that may cause injury to you or others cleaning up. These can include chainsaws, electrical or chemical hazards;
  • Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company;
  • Provide clean, uncontaminated water;
  • Do not feed flood damaged or moldy feed;
  • Dispose of dead carcasses using proper deadstock disposal methods as found in the Deadstock, Mass Mortalities and Disposal section; 
  • Check machinery and equipment for damage;
  • After winter storms, if excessive snow accumulates on roofs or a roof shows signs of distress, arrange for safe snow removal;
  • Clear ice and snow from vents. If mechanically ventilated facilities are not functioning properly, animals could suffocate from lack of oxygen. Open vents to facilitate natural air flow;
  • Clear away the snow safely, but also avoid overexertion. Strain from the cold and the hard labor can lead to a heart attack, a major cause of death in the winter. Make sure you have good footing when lifting the snow shovel;
  • Take photographs of all damage for insurance or emergency assistance purposes; and
  • Contact your insurance agent to report any loses and obtain advice about restoration needs.

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