Melissa J. Nixon, DVM
We are prepared to work with other agencies, specifically California Department of Forestry, California Highway Patrol, County Sheriff, and National Guard, in facilitating the evacuation of individuals who are unwilling to leave their animals behind yet are unable to get these animals to the roadblock as instructed.
In all our interactions, but most especially at the roadblocks, we emphasize cooperation and coordination without confrontation.
We believe that all agencies, and the individuals within them, share the goal of SAFE EVACUATION OF ALL PEOPLE FROM THE DESIGNATED AREA IN A TIMELY MANNER.
It has been shown that many who refuse to evacuate do so because they will not leave their animal(s) behind. If we work together to resolve animal evacuation problems, then often we have solved the human evacuation problem as well.
It is our understanding that the CHP agency will be responsible for the actual roadblocks as first responders.
It is our understanding that the county Sheriff or other comparable local law enforcement agency will be the first responder agency working within the designated area to evacuate and secure the area.
It is our understanding that the National Guard and/or the United States Army may join in one or both of the above functions as second responders to the disaster scene.
We interpret roadblock designations as follows:
Stage One: Residents of the designated area with proper ID will be allowed past the roadblock to return to their homes for belongings or animals. Trained and properly identified disaster service workers will be allowed past the roadblock to perform their specified duties.
Stage Two: CDF, Sheriff, CHP, Army, National Guard will be allowed past the roadblock to perform specific tasks. A two- or three-person team of our animal response workers who have completed appropriate advanced training and have certification with them as well as appropriate protective gear (hazmat, nomex, etc) will be allowed past the roadblock to retrieve specific animals from specific premises for evacuation. Our workers may be accompanied by personnel from CDF, Sheriff, CHP, Army, or National Guard.
We prefer not to bring our vehicles into the designated area; rather a vehicle from one of the mentioned agencies can deliver our workers to the problem site, where we will assist in leading, carrying, swimming, or driving the animals back to the roadblock and one of our waiting rigs.
It is not our intention to offer door-to-door service for evacuations. In general, we expect owners to get their own animals to the roadblock. We would like to keep one of our rigs at or near the roadblock. The remaining rigs will be parked in a more distant staging area that is out of the way of roadblock traffic yet quickly accessible to emerging animals. We are implementing a CB communication plan to supplement our use of cell phones between units.
Stage Three: EVERYBODY OUT! If feasible, endangered but unevacuated animals would be released from confinement and THE GATE CLOSED BEHIND THEM as disaster workers vacate the area. Locks will not be cut off of closed gates, if the owner has left animals behind a locked gate or door, the animal will be left there.