Safety Information

TCWR EMERGENCY PROCEDURES NATURAL DISASTERS

Updated June 2017 

During any type of inclement weather, the animals may not be shifted out into their enclosures and the regular tour schedule may be interrupted or canceled. For the safety of all guests and employees, Senior staff will determine if the facility will be open for daily visitors.

In the event of any chance of inclement weather, gift shop staff will post signage and inform guests that there may be changes to the regular schedule of tours and may be early closure

Informing lodging guests and protocol for overnight guests TBD by lodging staff.

 

THUNDERSTORMS/TORNADOS

Severe Thunderstorm Watch– Severe thunderstorms are possible– this is usually over several counties or a larger area.  Watch the sky and listen to the staff radio for more information. Be prepared to take shelter in buildings as conditions dictate.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning– Severe thunderstorms are occurring.   Take shelter in a designated safe zone, and wait for the “all clear” announcement by Senior staff radio.

Tornado Watch – Tornadoes are possible. Watch the sky and listen to staff radio or television for more information. Be prepared to take shelter. If you see any revolving funnel-shaped clouds, report them. 

Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. When a warning has been issued by the National Weather Service, sirens have been activated, or a tornado has been sighted.

On Days of suspected severe thunderstorm or tornados, the cats may not be shifted out of their night houses and tours may be interrupted and/or canceled.  Depending on the severity of the storm, the refuge may be closed for the day as determined by senior staff.  Signage will be posted, front gate will be shut and notifications will go out on Facebook.

 

Visitor Services Response:

IF a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued for Eureka Springs, OR near Eureka Springs and we have guests:

  1. Advise guests that a Thunderstorm Warning has been issued & approx timing
  2. Advise guests that cats will be shifted into night houses and upcoming tours will be canceled
  3. Advise guests to leave the park OR to seek shelter in a strong structure
    • Gift Shop
  4. Ask guests to “Please Cooperate with any Refuge Staff and Intern instructions”.

TORNADO Warnings issued in Carroll or Madison County or Neighboring County (coming this way) or immediate threat:

  1. Front gate will be closed to only allow guests leaving the property
  2. All guests will be asked to leave the refuge, turn on their car radios & return home safely  (if there is time)  OR
  3. Advise guests to seek shelter in the front rest rooms
  4. Ask guests to “Please Cooperate with any Refuge Staff and Intern instructions”.

 

Procedures for All Staff

Refuge animal care staff utilize cell phone weather apps and monitor consistently throughout days of inclement weather.  Be sure to be aware of Refuge County – Carroll as well as neighboring Madison County specifically.  Also pay attention, to neighboring areas west of Eureka Springs, as that is commonly where weather systems will come from.  This will allow for potential earlier warnings.

During hours of operation, weather alerts will be issued by the Senior staff.  Depending on the forecast – animal care may:  not shift any animals into habitats, shift only some animals into their habitats or all animals may be shifted back into night houses if they already had access

Gift shop staff will post signage on the front door which indicates that the tour schedule may be interrupted or that tours are completely canceled.   Gift shop and office staff are to advise any guests entering the refuge or calling for information of these changes.  Visitors already at the refuge will be asked to come inside and highly encouraged to leave the property and can be issued either an “all day pass” or refund depending on the circumstances.

If not already, all cats will be shifted into their night houses for safety by animal care staff/interns. This is done to prevent animal escape and or injuries due to falling trees, flying debris, and primary containment failure. Animal care staff/interns may also be asked to put away equipment or tools from projects, begin preparing diets and feeding the animals early, etc

All staff will assist in securing any lightweight or building materials that could become a concern due to high winds. Also, close and secure all overhead doors, entry doors, and storage tarps. This will help prevent material from becoming an airborne projectile that could cause injury to you, visitors and the animals. It also will prevent potential damage to animal exhibits, support structures, equipment, and buildings. If a window or door glass breaks due to high winds, drawn shades may reduce the risk from flying glass.

Be aware that this region of the state is prone to violent electrical storms. If lightning is in the area, visitors will be asked to take shelter in the gift shop and/or leave the property.  All workers will also seek shelter and avoid trees and metal structures including fences, people rail, gates, etc. If you find yourself in a position where there is no immediate shelter available, find a low spot away from trees and power poles where you can squat low to the ground. Make yourself the smallest target possible

Office and Gift Shop staff should unplug equipment to prevent damage due to lightning strikes or power surges.

Incase of either thunderstorm or tornado, after animals are secured and guests assisted,  All personnel should move into safe zones or the nearest appropriate building. Take all emergency equipment and first aid equipment with you into the buildings. If shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch, culvert, or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building. Use arms to protect head and neck. Stay aware of the potential for flash flooding. 

Depending on the forecast and current conditions, all non-essential staff may be asked to leave early or not come into work. 

Try to get out of damaged buildings. Once out of damaged buildings, do not reenter unless absolutely necessary. Use great caution. After the storm passes, check for injured victims and animals. Render first aid if necessary. If you are not trained in CPR/First Aid call for assistance on the radio. Do not attempt to move severely injured victims unless absolutely necessary. Stabilize the victim and wait for emergency medical assistance. Notify the Animal Care Staff of any animal injuries. Monitor your radio at all times for further instruction.

Safe Zones

These areas the gift shop, office, or commissary for thunderstorms, in event of tornadic activity the safe zone is the front brick bathroom building. In an emergency, they should provide adequate shelter for staff and visitors in severe weather.

For Staff:  any of your sheltered work areas

For Visitors:  Gift Shop, Front Public Restrooms

For Staff and Visitors:  Use Common Sense when dealing with an imminent threat.

 

FLOODING

Flood Watch – Flooding is possible.

  Flash Flood Watch – Flash flooding is possible. Move to higher ground. A flash flood could occur without any warning.

  Flood Warning – Flooding is occurring or will occur soon. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

  Flash Flood Warning – A flash flood is occurring. Seek higher ground immediately. Flooding of small streams, drainage ditches, streets, and low-lying areas is already occurring.

 

Procedures

Refuge animal care staff utilize cell phone weather apps and monitor consistently throughout days of inclement weather.  Be sure to be aware of Refuge County – Carroll as well as neighboring Madison County specifically.  Also pay attention, to neighboring areas west of Eureka Springs, as that is commonly where weather systems will come from.  This will allow for potential earlier warnings.

During hours of operation, weather alerts will be issued by the Animal Care staff. Updates by staff radio will occur as new information and/or KSPR app issues new weather alerts. During flash floods, animals may be shifted into their night houses and the refuge may be closed at the discretion of the Senior Staff. In this event, refuge staff and interns will circulate around the facility, advising the public of said closure and request that they leave. 

During the heavy rains, animals may not be shifted into habitats until inspected by animals care staff.

After the storm passes, check for injured victims and animals. Render first aid if necessary Notify the Animal Care Staff of any animal injuries and maintenance or other senior staff of any damage to buildings, drains, habitats, etc. Monitor your radio at all times for further instruction

When entering buildings, use extreme caution. Look for fire hazards. Stay out of buildings that remain in the flood waters.

Note:  Turpentine Creek does sit on high ground and would probably be isolated, but unaffected during a flood situation. However, surrounding roadways may be blocked by floodwaters.

 

EARTHQUAKE PROCEDURES

Immediately evacuate staff and visitors from all buildings and or night houses.

Ensure that you are far enough away from man-made structures that falling debris is not a threat.

Following the earthquake, ALL visitors should be asked to leave refuge grounds.  Staff should then inspect all exhibits, night houses, and buildings for structural damage. 

Notify the Animal Care Staff of any animal injuries or major structural damage.

Be aware that the possibility of aftershocks is always present following an earthquake.

Note: While earthquakes have not been a historical concern in our immediate area of the state, the potential of one occurring is still a possibility. Recent projections from the USGS Regional Office and UALR researchers indicate increasing activity along the New Madrid fault line in eastern Arkansas.

 

ICE AND SNOW EVENTS

Refuge animal care staff utilize cell phone weather app and monitor consistently throughout days of inclement weather.  Be sure to be aware of Refuge County – Carroll as well as neighboring Madison County specifically.  Also pay attention, to neighboring areas west of Eureka Springs, as that is commonly where weather systems will come from.  This will allow for potential earlier warnings.  Snow and ice events tend to have early warnings and preparations may begin prior to the weather event.  E.g. Generators distributed, sidewalks salted, animal shifted into night houses and provided additional bedding/protection. 

Non-essential refuge staff may be contacted to stay home or asked to leave property early depending on forecast, road conditions and conditions at the refuge.

Ice will present the greatest safety concern on roads, walkways, and in exhibits where traction may be problematic for staff and animals. Portable propane heaters and generators will be used as needed if main power fails. Removal of snow and ice will be performed as needed by ALL departments to aid in safety for animals and workers.

All staff may be called upon to work extended hours and assist as needed.

If weather system is expected during hours of operation, weather alerts will be issued by the Animal Care staff. Updates by staff radio will occur as new information and/or KSPR app issues new weather alerts. During a snow/ice event, the refuge may be closed or close ahead of the event at the discretion of the Senior Staff. In this event, refuge staff and interns will circulate around the facility, advising the public of said closure and request that they leave.  Senior Staff will monitor KSPR weather app and let other staff/interns know of any warnings.

Gift shop staff will post signage on the front door which indicates that the tours are completely canceled.   They are to advise any guests entering the refuge or calling for information of these changes.  Non-essential refuge employees will be asked to leave as well.

The front gate will remain closed to incoming guests.

Visitors already at the refuge can be issued either an “all day pass” or a refund.