County Animal Disaster Response Plan
Disaster Preparedness Manual
Melissa J. Nixon, DVM

Whereas we realize that community members will more readily accept their own evacuation when their pets and livestock can also be safely evacuated, and

Whereas we recognize that early evacuation and organized sheltering of pets and livestock will mitigate risk to first responders and facilitate other response activities, and

Whereas we acknowledge the importance of the human-animal bond in the recovery process after a disaster incident, and

Whereas we accept that appropriate handling of animal waste and carcasses will mitigate many public health risks,

We hereby establish this county animal disaster response plan with the following Purposes:

 To assist safe and prompt evacuation of domestic animals from a disaster area

 To allow more human evacuees to comfortably stay at a Red Cross evacuation center by providing a safe haven for their cherished pets brought out of the disaster area with them

 To provide shelter and/or confinement, proper feed, routine care, medical triage, and prompt disposal of waste to as many affected animals as possible during a disaster and the immediate recovery period afterwards

 To provide reasonable identification of each animal, and if possible its correct owner, at the time of entry to our facilities

 To develop a communication network that will function among our own units as well as have interoperability with other disaster agencies

 To ensure that our agency can function without outside aid for the first 96 hours of an incident

 To plan appropriately for interaction with other agencies from outside our county when their aid becomes available to us, ensuring continued unity of command as well as a unified command structure based upon the principles of ICS, SEMS, and NIMS

 To allow owners to visit their own animals during an incident without compromising the security of the facility

 To have clear MOUs with the other local disaster responders, including OES, CDF, CHP, Sheriff, Animal Control, Agricultural Commissioner, Red Cross, Salvation Army, County Medical Officer, fair grounds management, and town police; with local media such as TV, radio, internet sites, and newspapers; with Board of Supervisors and all three town councils; Memorial Hospital; the county veterinary medical association; managers of private or public facilities such as rodeo grounds, the expo center, horse show grounds, livestock sale yards, veterinary hospitals, boarding kennels, pet groomers, and equine boarding facilities; local communication specialists such as the CB club and Bell Telephone; county waste disposal, carcass haulers, and pet crematoriums; suppliers of feed, veterinary medical supplies, and animal care necessities such as feed containers, rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, litter pans, leashes, cat litter, and bedding.

 To develop mutual aid agreements with our companion groups in neighboring counties and states as well as with the state veterinary association, the state department of food and agriculture, the state department of fish and game, and such secondary response agencies as Humane Society of United States, UCD-VMAT, UCD large animal rescue group, the veterinary medical teaching hospitals, UAN, US Army, National Guard, OSPREY, and AVMA

 To provide basic emergency medical care to animals injured in the disaster, to provide medication to displaced animals with chronic health conditions, and to isolate individuals suspected of having a communicable disease with assistance from those veterinarians enrolled in the state veterinary medical association's disaster response program

 To educate, in advance, as many lay groups as possible on how they can assist our programs

 To coordinate with other agencies in the transportation of animals away from ground zero to the shelter, and between shelters if necessary, so as to avoid clogging human evacuation routes or emergency responder access routes

 To maintain our own library of local maps and train our volunteers in the use of GPS, GPS-relevant maps, and GPS-tracking of sites visited

 To educate the public to meet our crews at the roadblock or to send word through existing communication channels that they are stranded with their animal(s) and in need of assistance

 To locate facilities that could be made available to us during a crisis, such as veterinary hospitals, kennels, catteries, pounds, ranches, fairgrounds, schools, and facilities in neighboring counties; to discover what stipulations would be placed upon our usage of their facilities; to communicate this list to the appropriate state agency to be entered into their data base

 To provide assistance to other agencies regarding public health issues such as rabies or other zoonotic diseases

 To foster an awareness of foreign animal disease and the potential for its occurrence during a disaster incident

 To be prepared to perform safe decontamination of animals who may have come in contact with toxic substances during the course of a disaster

 To offer any special care needed by service animals, whether they are evacuated with their owners or cared for in our facilities, and to support their co-evacuation with their service partner as advised in federal ADA statute

 To coordinate with other agencies in the timely removal of animal waste and the remains of animals not surviving the disaster

 To educate the public to the benefits of having an identification microchip implanted in their animal(s) PRIOR to the disaster incident

 To return each and every animal to its rightful owner at the conclusion of the evacuation incident

 To locate potential sources of feed, medications, and other supplies to supplement initial supplies donated by our volunteers

 To ensure that all of our volunteers have completed our initial local training program and FEMA courses IS 100 and IS 200, received an identification card validated by county or state officials, and signed the mandated loyalty oath prior to participating in a response

 To consult with the district attorney, agricultural commissioner, chief of animal control, state attorney general's office, department of food and agriculture, department of fish and game, and any other agencies likely to have knowledge of laws applicable to our efforts. Specifically to work within the confines of current law in finding foster or permanent adoptive homes for animals left unclaimed at the end of the response effort

 To ensure to the best of our ability that no gaps in insurance coverage exist between the volunteers' private insurance and what is offered by the state to properly trained and certified disaster service workers, either via Good Samaritan laws or state workers compensation coverage

 To continue to sponsor training events for certified volunteers, with at least one annual live scenario and one annual tabletop exercise specific to our own group as well as whatever county level training events are appropriate for our participation

 To continue to offer existing volunteers opportunities to expand their skills through additional training courses while offering periodic training classes for interested new recruits

 To be sure that mental health support is available to volunteers who may experience emotional trauma as a result of their disaster response work

 To debrief every training session and every incident response, to generate a lesson learned document and a list of recommendations, and to incorporate those recommendations into our program

 To present volunteers with appropriate insignia to add to their identity badge for each incident worked and for each level of training completed

 To clearly identify those volunteers with professional degrees (DVM, MD, RN, RVT) and those in positions of command (Incident Commander, Public Information Officer, Safety Officer, Chief of Operations, Chief of Logistics, Planning Chief, Financial Chief, Large Animal Housing Manager, Small Animal Housing Manager, Transportation Manager, Security Manager, Communications Manager)

 To provide liaisons to other agencies and to the joint command center upon request, and to accept liaisons provided by other agencies

 To request escorts or security assistance from appropriate agencies if indicated for the safety of our volunteers or the animals in our care

 To ensure that our Incident Commander, Deputy Incident Commander, and Public Information Officer have appropriate training in communicating with the media

 To have leadership, chain of command, and trained crews to help face the next disaster

To prevent the theft of valuable animals, to reduce the stress on animals in our care, and to reduce the fomite transmission of disease, we will exclude the general public from our animal holding areas

Speaker Information
(click the speaker's name to view other papers and abstracts submitted by this speaker)

Melissa J. Nixon, DVM

MAIN : : County Plan
Powered By VIN