Back Print Save Bookmark in my Browser Main : Course Catalog : Equine Anatomy and Physiology

Courses open for VSPNer registration

STAF140-1011: Disaster Response: Getting Your Feet Wet

Enrollment is closed

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

COURSE OPEN: October 12-November 12, 2011

REAL TIME SESSIONS (RTS): Wednesdays, October 19 and 26, and November 2, 2011; 10pm-11:30pm ET (USA)
*please note the session times
Course RTS Times in Your Area: World Clock Converter
Practice Sessions: In order to prepare you for a successful experience in your CE course, we request you attend a practice session prior to the first Real Time Session. Times and dates will be listed in your course confirmation email. Expect to spend up to 1 hour at one of the 2-4 practice sessions held prior to the first Real Time Session.

* The instructor for this course will be using audio which will require you to have a headset or speakers to listen. If you have any concerns regarding your computer's audio capabilities, please be sure to attend a Practice Session.

Level and Prerequisites: This basic course is especially designed for veterinary health care teams and will enable each 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. Enrollment will be limited to VIN and VSPN members only and will close when the participant maximum is reached.
VSPN CE Course open to VIN and VSPN members only. This course has been RACE approved for veterinarian and veterinary technicians and is approved by VHMA for CVPM credits.

Course Description:
Many animal professionals want to help during times of emergency or disaster, but in today's environment of structured emergency management, preparedness involves completing appropriate training, certification, and credentialing procedures. This course will introduce you to the basic aspects of animal disaster response and cover the basic steps to take for involvement 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. The Incident Command System will be discussed and include the important role it plays in disaster. We will discuss the basic principles of the emerging field of Animal Disaster Medicine. The course will include information on resources and whom to contact to get involved and/or start a local group or hospital response team. We will incorporate techniques for communication between groups and liaisons with the media in this discussion.

This course will consist of three (3) Real Time Sessions of ninety (90) minutes each, supplemental library materials, interactive message board discussions, a mandatory end-of-course test, and may include online multiple choice quizzes (after each Real Time Session). In order to participate in the board discussions, some additional time will likely be needed to research and examine issues more completely. Successful completion (scoring 80% or better) on the end-of-course test is required to be considered for a course certificate of completion.
** The lecture portion of this course will combine both text and audio presentation. Please be prepared to listen.

Upon completion of this course, the participant should be able to distinguish and describe

Course Materials: Course materials will be available in the course library prior to each Real Time Session.
Required Texbook(s): There is no required textbook for this course. There will be several links and resources included in the course library in addition to the resources listed below:
Recommended Textbooks:

About the Instructor: Chuck Cubbison will be the lead instructor for this course. Chuck has been involved with animal disaster response since Colorado's Hayman Fire in 2002. Most recently, he assisted with the sheltering of a large number of animals impacted by the May 2011 EF5 tornado in Joplin, Missouri. He has served several terms as president of the Animal EVAC Volunteers (AEV), has worked to plan and coordinate animal disaster response between volunteer organizations and animal control, and is currently a volunteer member of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps. Please see the course information page for links to the additional instructor's biography pages.

Course Outline:
Week 1 (Real Time Session October 19): Basic Principles of Animal 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 levels 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, technical animal 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 (Real Time Session October 26): Disaster Response Framework and Incident Command
Content: Throughout this week we will delve deeper into the frameworks that make up the various levels of response, especially federal disaster legislation and principles, with a focus on the Incident Command System (ICS). We will also discuss the basic principles of emergency planning and the disaster life cycle: plan, mitigate, respond, and recover. Communication and responsibilities within the ICS framework will be covered with a focus on communication between different groups of responders and the public and necessary paperwork and documentation.

Week 3 (Real Time Session November 2): Animal Disaster Medicine and What Next?
Content: In this final week, we will discuss the basic principles of the emerging field of Animal Disaster Medicine. We will briefly discuss disaster triage, 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, fulfill basic training requirements, and coordinate or volunteer starting at the local level.


Tuition: $Free (Enrollment is limited and will be closed as soon as participant cap has been met; enrollees should have a distinct interest in disaster response and will be expected to participate.) This course is generously supported by a grant from the VIN Foundation. ** To ensure participants are ready and prepared for classes, enrollment will close when the maximum number of participants is reached or at 5pm ET the day of the first Real Time Session unless otherwise noted. If the first Real Time Session is on a weekend, course will close on the Friday before the first Real Time Session.

**For more on how online CE works see the Participant Resource Center


  1. Enrollment qualifications: VIN CE courses are open to VIN member and non-member veterinarians. Veterinarians enrolling in a VSPN CE course must be a VIN member. Veterinary support staff must be a VSPN member to enroll in a VSPN CE or a VIN CE course open to VSPN member enrollment.
  2. Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from and addresses. Email is our major form of communication with participants; personal emails are highly recommended rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  3. Each person is individually responsible for his/her own registration. To ensure that all information received is secure and correct, please do not enroll for a course on behalf of another individual.
  4. For further assistance call 1-800-700-INFO (4636) or email (VIN CE) or (VSPN CE) Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.
Note: "This course has been approved for 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).
Course withdrawal and refund policy: A complete refund of the paid course price will be issued when your withdrawal request is received prior to the listed start date of the course. If you wish to withdraw after the start date please contact the VIN/VSPN office 1-800-700-INFO (4636) to discuss eligibility for a pro-rated refund.
**Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN/VSPN office at 1-800-700-INFO (4636).
** For More Information on VSPN's upcoming CE Courses, check out

Nanette R. Walker Smith, M.Ed., RVT, CVT, LVT
VSPN Content Director & VSPN CE Director

VSPN CE Services:
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-756-4881 or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01452226154
Charlotte Waack (, ext 193
Chris Upchurch (; ext 197
Darci Palmer (; ext 179
Debbie Bess (; ext 178
Jennifer Withrow (; ext 159
Nanette Walker Smith (; ext 187


800.700.4636  |  |  530.756.4881  |  Fax: 530.756.6035
777 West Covell Blvd, Davis, CA 95616

Copyright 2000, Veterinary Information Network, Inc.