Guidelines for Animal Response Team Volunteers
Disaster Preparedness Manual
Melissa J. Nixon, DVM

1.  Only the PIO talks to the media. No exceptions.

2.  You must have completed appropriate training and have your ID badge with you in order to be allowed on crew.

3.  Vehicle, trailer, and driver must have current insurance in force.

4.  Be sure your own animals are safe and cared for - even if you need to bring them with you - before you join crew.

5.  Check-in before reporting to your team; check-out before leaving.

6.  If you are able to donate some feed, please bring only: grass hay, oat hay, bran, adult-formula dog or cat food, or potbelly pig adult diet. Do not bring supplements or additives; do not bring puppy or kitten chow, lactation dairy goat chow, adult "performance" diets, grain, equine senior.

7.  Do not remove an animal from cage or stall, exercise an animal, administer a medical treatment, or feed an animal until your section leader gives you explicit permission.

8.  There are no stupid questions. If you are given an assignment and the instructions don't make sense, ask questions until they do

9.  If you can't control yourself, you can't control anything else:

a.  NO behavior suspicious of theft

b.  NO behavior suspicious of firebug

c.  NO sightseeing

d.  NO confrontations

e.  NO drugs

f.  NO alcohol

g.  NO weapons

h.  NO bad attitudes

10.  Smoke only in designated area.

11.  Report evidence of illness or injury to IC or Medical Officer.

12.  This is a completely volunteer program. Our plan has no reimbursement fund for fuel, damage, loss, or injury costs. Please do not expect governmental reimbursement for fuel; although we may be able to receive some reimbursement after the fact, it is not guaranteed. Properly certified disaster service workers in California are covered by workers compensation insurance, but this relationship may not be valid if the group travels to a disaster in another state.

13.  Please be careful. Avoid putting yourself or others in additional danger. Remember to use protective gear; while it may seem heroic in the moment to dash in without such gear, lifelong health problems and even death may be the result. You are already a hero, don't push it - fools rush in where heroes fear to tread.

14.  We will not discharge any animals out of one of our facilities until we are sure of the animal's identification, the identity of the person taking the animal, and the safety of the animal's destination. This is to prevent theft of animals. It is also necessary to help reduce the number of animals returning to inadequate facilities that were damaged in the disaster.

15.  Do not even think about trying to take home an evacuated animal. Our highest priority is to return them to their original owners. If the owner cannot keep the animal and signs over ownership, or if the owners cannot be found within the legally allotted time period, we will do our best to give first adoption chances to volunteers who have worked with that animal.

16.  If you are pregnant, or have significant health problems, please let us know and volunteer only for tasks that will be safe for you! At all times use good sense in preventing injury to yourself, other people, and the animals in our care.

17.  We may ask to inspect any vehicles leaving the facility. Please do not be offended. We need to protect the animals and keep track of a great deal of donated feed and loaned equipment. Unfortunately some dishonest people try to take advantage of disaster situations for their own gain.

18.  If you are able to loan equipment, please label it clearly and do not bring anything you can't stand to say good-bye to.... We can use the following:
Portable cages and fencing, airline kennels, food and water bowls or buckets, shovels, rakes, apple pickers, wheelbarrows, towels and blankets, tents, cots, extra bedding, bottled water, ice chests (with ice is nice!), leashes, halters, lead ropes, tie lines, bottles of household bleach, grooming equipment, hoses, cat litter, unused litter pans, chairs, flashlights, radios, scanners, CB units, cell phones, laptop computers.

Speaker Information
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Melissa J. Nixon, DVM

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