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VSPN CE Course STAF140-0913: Disaster Response: Getting Your Feet Wet


INSTRUCTOR(S): Chuck Cubbison, MA, AAS, CVT; Karen Miller Becnel, DVM; Martha A. Littlefield, DVM, MS
COURSE OPEN: September 26-October 27, 2013
REAL TIME SESSIONS (RTS): Thursdays, October 3, 10, and 17, 2013; 10:00pm-11:30pm ET (USA)
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. Please arrive promptly at the start time; each Practice Session is up to 1 hour in length. For more information, please visit the CE Practice Area.

*The instructors 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 one of the Practice Sessions.

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. This course is not recommended for those with experienced levels of disaster training.
VSPN CE Course: This course has been RACE approved for veterinarians and veterinary technicians. This course has been approved by the 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 is not intended to be used as a substitute for the orientation or basic training requirements of any disaster response group or organization.

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). The instructor places emphasis on Message Board participation as an important component of the learning process. 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, participants 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 Textbook(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 Textbook(s):

About the Instructors: Chuck Cubbison is a CVT who has been involved with animal disaster response since Colorado's Hayman Fire in 2002. Most recently, he worked for the Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation (now PetAid Colorado) as an Animal Emergency Planner for the Denver Metropolitan Area (20011 to 2012), assisted with animal sheltering after the May 2011 EF5 tornado in Joplin, Missouri, served several terms as president of the Animal EVAC Volunteers (AEV), and has worked to plan and coordinate animal disaster response between volunteer organizations, animal control, and first responders. He currently lives in Alaska and is a full time dogsled musher and part time instructor for the American Red Cross of Alaska. Karen Miller Becnel has extensive experience in animal rescue including transport, sheltering and triage during hurricanes Katrina and Rita; volunteer work with IFAW in major hoarding situation in Florida 2012; completion of ICS courses 100, 200, 300 ,400; and participation in training national and international students in disaster management as a member of LSART (Louisiana State Animal Response Team). Martha A. Littlefield teaches veterinary gross anatomy at LSU School of Veterinary Medicine in Baton Rouge, LA. She is the founder of the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART) and remains an active participate and speaker within the program. As Louisiana Assistant State Veterinarian (2002-2010), she was active in numerous disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Her most recent activity was with LSART's response during Hurricane Issac.

Course Outline:
Week 1: (Real Time Session October 3): 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 10): 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 October 17): 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: $90 ($81 early bird special if enrolled by September 12, 2013)

* Students currently enrolled in and taking at least 2 classes or 5 units at an AVMA accredited or CAAHT approved Veterinary Technician Program may be eligible to receive a 50% discount off the regular rate for this course (upon verification of student status).
* To ensure participants are ready and prepared for classes, enrollment will close at 5pm ET on Thursday, October 3, 2013 or when the maximum number of participants is reached.

*For more information 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 is approved for 4.5 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/VIN 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 the VSPN Course Catalog.

Nanette R. Walker Smith, MEd, RVT, CVT, LVT
VSPN Content & CE Director
Charlotte Waack, CVT, RVT
VSPN CE Coordinator

VSPN CE Services:
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-756-4881 or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01452226154
Barb Burri (; ext 764 (New Hampshire)
Charlotte Waack (; ext 193 (Illinois)
Chris Upchurch (; ext 197 (Florida)
Lisa Kernaghan (; ext 159 (Arizona)
Nanette Walker Smith (; ext 187 (Colorado)

800.700.4636  |  |  530.756.4881  |  Fax: 530.756.6035
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