Monday, September 15, 2008

Being Prepared To Assist in Disasters

Many of you have asked what is needed to be "certified" or "trained" to respond to animals in disasters. While there is not, at least at this time, a standard, nationwide certification system, some minimal requirements have emerged for first responders who want to help animals affected by disasters.
First, you'll need to be associated with a national organization like HSUS, UAN, or ASPCA, or a staff member for a municipal or private agency in the affected area. National organizations have the credibility and the resources to deploy nationally and have the manpower, equipment, organizational plans, and legal documentation necessary to respond before, during and after a disaster strikes.
Second, you'll need to have specific training in the Incident Command System for first responders. ICS is an on-scene, all-hazard management concept adopted by FEMA, DHS, and virtually every law enforcement agency and first responder across the nation. Classes in the Incident Command System are available online from FEMA - they are free, and they are self-paced. HSUS and UAN both require completion of at least ICS 100, ICS 200, and ISC 700, and suggest also ISC 800 and ICS 10.
HSUS also requires specific training courses for their National Disaster Animal Rescue Team, and UAN requires certain UAN classes for the Emergency Animal Rescue Service.
You'll also need a current Tetanus shot, as well as Hepatitis A & B vaccinations. Red Cross courses in Humane CPR and Pet CPR & First Aid are also appreciated.
To find out more about training and volunteering for HSUS' NDART, visit
To find out about training and volunteering for UAN's EARS, visit
To sign up for FEMA's free online training courses, visit
Other links of interest:
Governor's Division of Emergency Management:
Texas Extension Disaster Education Network -
Texas State Animal Resource Team -
If you have questions, please feel free to contact