Did You Plan for A Sudden Outbreak of . . . Lions and Tigers and Bears? Yet Another Reason to Enhance Your Incident Command Capabilities

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Sad news out of Zanesville, OH this morning that the owner of an exotic animal farm set as many as 50 of the animals free last night before apparently shooting himself.  The story is certainly an attention grabber but it reminds us that, not unlike other emergencies that were totally unplanned for, both organizations and individuals need to be prepared for all kinds of contingencies.  Even those we couldn’t possibly have previously imagined.

Photo: cnn.com

In this case, would you or your employees or your family (or your employees’ families) be able to shelter in place for many hours or a day or so while authorities made sure that none of the animals posed a risk to commuters, shoppers, pedestrians or any other noun you can think of to describe a person out in public?  A native Texan, I have my own (small) share of experience with larger, dangerous animals so the first thing that popped into my mind when I read about the owner’s previous problems with area law enforcement was the higher possibility that these animals were abused and/or malnourished – and a very hungry, extra-large omnivorous predator is very dangerous indeed.  Multiply that by 50 and you have a situation that needs managing and, more importantly, pre-planning.

Photo: jackhanna.com

Even Jack Hanna, arguably the country’s foremost wild animal expert, weighed in on the matter calling for legislation against individuals keeping or breeding exotic animals.  However, as we’ve all too often seen, laws against something are usually passed when it’s far too late for right now.

A while back we posted about FEMA’s tongue-in-cheek warning for citizens to be prepared against getting overrun by zombies and today’s news will certainly show up in the talk show monologues tonight.  But the truth is that this was a tragedy for the animals involved and that human lives really could have been jeopardized.  The reality of today’s events makes it worth pondering what you think you’re really prepared for.

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