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STAF140-0810: Disaster Response: Getting Your Feet Wet

Chuck Cubbison, AAS, CVT (coordinator); Christine M. Slowiak, CVT, VTS (Anes)(ECC), Karen Miller Becnel, DVM, Martha A. Littlefield, DVM, MS

August 4-September 7, 2010
Real Time Sessions: Wednesday evenings, August 11, 18, and 25, 2010; 9:00pm-10:30pm ET (USA)

Many animal professionals want to help in the time of emergency or disaster, but in today's environment of structured emergency management, you must be prepared to help by completing appropriate training, certification, and credentialing procedures. This course will introduce you to the basic aspects of animal disaster response, and show you the basic steps you can take to be involved on a local, state, or national level. We will focus on laws, policies, and organizations within the United States; however, many of the principles apply in other nations as well. This course will include a large number of resources and site exploration of the several disaster response groups including the VIN and VSPN member resource "First Responder's Guide to Animal Care." The regulatory and organizational parts of disaster response are unique to each group with interactive components so each person can find a niche to be involved in at a level that works. The Incident Command System will be discussed and include the importance it plays in disaster response and the levels of time and involvement commitment available. The course will include information on resources and whom to contact to get involved and/or start your own local group or hospital response team. We will incorporate techniques for communication between groups and liaisons with the media in this discussion. Enrollment will be limited to VIN and VSPN members only and will close when the participant maximum is reached.

All veterinary staff and veterinarians are encouraged to participate in this course; teams are especially encouraged to enroll. RACE approval will be sought for veterinarians and veterinary technicians as well as we will request VHMA approval for CVPM CE credits. This course will have 3 real time sessions of 90 minutes each, subsequent links, handouts, message board discussions, and quizzes to enable the participant to determine the level to which s/he wishes to pursue involvement in disaster preparedness and response and subsequently which organization(s) to investigate further. Chuck Cubbison, CVT will be the lead instructor for this course. Chuck has been involved with animal disaster response since Colorado's Hayman Fire in 2002. He has served several terms as president of the Animal EVAC Volunteers (AEV), which assists with the evacuation and transportation of small animals during local animal disasters. He has worked to plan and coordinate animal disaster response between volunteer organizations and animal control in Park and Jefferson Counties, Colorado. He is also currently a volunteer member of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps and assists the Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation's Animal Emergency Management Program to address companion animal issues during activations of the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center. He is a certified wild land firefighter, and volunteers with the Colorado State Forest Service to assist with prescribed fires. Additional instructors from a variety of disaster response programs and backgrounds will assist in the real time sessions and message boards to ensure coverage of the many facets and organizations in veterinary disaster response.

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to distinguish and describe:

TEXTBOOK: There is no required text for this course. There will be several links and resources included in the course library in addition to the resources listed below:


Week 1: Basic Principles of Disaster Response
Content: During the first week of the course we will familiarize ourselves with the terminology for disaster response at the local, state, and national level including the terminology specific to each, guidelines for the roles a participant can take and how animals fit in to a disaster response plan. Search and Rescue, sheltering, reuniting, public information, Working Dog issues, agriculture disease response, and multiple animal seizures will be explored. Finally, volunteerism, what is involved and how it is best managed will be covered.

Week 2: Communication in Disaster Response
Content: Throughout this week we will delve deeper into the frameworks that make up the various levels of response including incident command. The structures of the framework will be identified and defined. Communication between roles, different groups of responders, the public, and paperwork/documentation will be covered.

Week 3: Animal-Specific Issues and What Next?
Content:In this final week we will discuss zoonoses, disease prevention, biodefense, animal handling, and sheltering. We will culminate with discussions of where the participant can take this information and how to get involved, get paperwork in order, and coordinate or volunteer starting at the local level.

MESSAGE BOARD DISCUSSIONS: Message board discussions regarding the topic presented will begin on the day the course opens and continue for one week following the last real time session. These discussions will be held in the VSPN CE course area.


$Free - registration will close as soon as the participant cap is met
Enrollment will be limited to VIN and VSPN members only and will close when the participant maximum is reached.

** NOTE: Enrollment will be closed when the maximum number of participants is reached or at 5pm ET the day of the first real time session.

**The Participant's Resource Center includes all you need to know about online CE with VIN and VSPN:


  1. Each person must individually be a registered member of VSPN ( Membership in VSPN is free.
  2. To enroll in any VSPN CE course click on the ENROLL NOW link below the course title on the right side of the page at
  3. Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from and addresses. This is our major form of communication with participants. It is highly recommended that course participants use their own, personal emails rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  4. VIN Member veterinarians SHOULD NOT register for their staff. Please have the staff member register through VSPN. Please email if you have questions.
  5. VIN Member veterinarians ARE ELIGIBLE to take this course; this course is being submitted to RACE and VHMA approved for both veterinarians and veterinary technicians. **Please access the course enrollment through
Note: "This course has been submitted for approval for 4.5 continuing education credits in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB RACE approval; however participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education. Call VSPN CE at 1-800-700-4636 for further information." (Attendees are encouraged to check with their licensing jurisdiction(s) for information regarding recognition by their board).
This course has also been submitted for approval for continual education units toward CVPM requirements through VHMA.
COURSE WITHDRAWAL AND REFUND POLICY: Withdrawal prior to the listed start date of a course entitles the registrant to a complete refund or a credit toward a future VSPN or VIN CE course, whichever is preferred. Withdrawal within 1 week after the listed start date (i.e. including no more than one real-time session) entitles the registrant to a credit toward any future VIN CE course. (Does not apply to courses with only one real-time session.) After the first real-time session, a registrant may withdraw due to special circumstances and receive prorated credit towards a future VIN course. These requests will be handled on an individual basis. The amount of the prorated credit will be determined based on 65% of the time remaining in the course at the time of withdrawal. It is not possible to withdraw retroactively.
Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN office at 1-800-700-INFO (4636).
** For More Information on VSPN's upcoming CE Courses, check out

VSPN CE Services
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-297-4950
Charlotte Waack (, ext 193
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Debbie Bess (; ext 178
Nanette Walker Smith (; ext 187


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