Disaster Preparedness Manual
Melissa J. Nixon, DVM



 Common terminology

 Clarity of message

 Loss of transmission towers and stations in a disaster

 Overloaded towers and phone lines

 Expense of satellite phones

 Loss of power

 Down telephone lines

 Need for low tech as well as high tech options

 Need for redundancy in communication capabilities

 Text messaging may work better than voice messaging on cell phones

 Illegible handwriting

 Lost slips of paper


 Landlines and cell phones for phone tree

 Landline to usual command post


 Pagers for immediate responders and command positions

 Cell phones with text messaging capacity for as many volunteers as possible

 Signal flags may indicate "vet needed in this barn" etc.

 Spiral bound notebooks at each barn, etc.

 Wipe boards

 Directional signs


 CB radios

 Satellite phones would be lovely


 Website with posted updates

 Phone tree within unit and to sister agencies

 Out of area contacts to relay messages

 LAN and laptops if a DSL is available

 Manual typewriters


 Liaisons to other agencies

 PIO to talk to radio, newspaper, and TV media

 Interoperability expert

 Website team

 Phone tree volunteers

 Scanner monitors

 Messengers (human, not pigeon)

 Data entry

Other agencies

 HAM radio operators

 Unified Command Center

More communications


 Talking out personal stress issues

 Attending debriefings

 If it is not clear, ASK

 Written is better than verbal in many cases

 Patience and cooperation with coworkers, other agencies, and evacuees


 Do not lose track of an animal once in our care until finally relinquished to owner

 Need to have a website set up and ready to expand ahead of disaster incident

 Need clear pictures

 Need complete and accurate information

 Need accessibility for human evacuees

 Need prompt data entry and update


 Many newer cell phones have GPS chip but phone must be ON for chip to give your location

 Old fashioned topo maps and street maps

 Newer GPS and online mapping capability

 Systems exist that can track your movement via GPS and enter your trail onto a computer map


 Color of badge indicates veterinarian, RVT, command, training level

 Pins and stickers on badge indicate additional training, awards, incidents worked

 Unique ID number for each badge - sequential numbering gives estimate of tenure

 No badge, no entrance into unit

Special note

Communications is one area where folks with physical disabilities are often very able to contribute.

Speaker Information
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Melissa J. Nixon, DVM

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