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American Quarter Horse Association Show Managers' Views on Incident Response Planning for Natural Disasters at Equine Events: A Delphi Study

Boge, Mikayla Ann
The horse industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that could be affected by natural disasters that can strike quickly and cause an immense amount of damage. Being prepared is key. The purpose of this study was to describe perceptions of event management about the important aspects of planning for natural disasters during large-scale equine events, including their views about current incident response plans, elements that should be included in incident response plans, and elements that should not be included incident response. Perceptions of current U.S. AQHA show managers were collected through a three-round Delphi study. The show managers generated 34 items related to incident response planning and reached consensus on 22 items. The show managers agreed coordinating with event facility and other emergency response agencies, monitoring weather conditions, having proper communication tools, having available equine medical services, having appropriate shelter, and having an alternate plan were important elements of incident response plans. In addition, the show managers agreed that doing nothing in the way of planning was not acceptable. The show managers regarded many items as being responsibilities of event facility management, rather than show management responsibilities. AQHA should provide incident response information and material in mandatory training courses for AQHA show managers, as being prepared is vital to lessening the severity of damages and insuring the safety of people and animals involved in large-scale equine events. Also, other individuals, organizations, or equine events could access and utilize the information provided by AQHA. Additional research is needed about show managers� perceptions of their roles in incident response planning during equine events. A study also should be conducted using a larger and different population as well as a study about why certain incident response items are adopted. In addition, communications between event facility management and show management related to the effectiveness of incident response plans, views of equine event attendees about expected incident response plans, incident response planning for biosecurity at large-scale equine events, and the roles of insurance policies in incident response should be evaluated.