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Center for Public Health Preparedness


University at Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness

Dealing with Animals in Emergencies

Original Satellite Broadcast: 2/14/08

Moderator: Good morning and welcome to the University at Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness Grand Round Series. I am Kris Smith and I will be your moderator today. Before we start, we would like to ask you to please fill out your evaluations online. Continuing education credits are available after completing the posttest and your feedback is always helpful to the development of our future programs. We encourage you to participate today hope you will and we will take your calls later on in the hour. The toll free number is 800-452-0662. You may also send your written questions by fax at any time to 518-4260-696 or by email to the address you see on your screen. Here to speak with us today, on the subject of Dealing with Animals in Emergencies are two members of the Empire State Animal Response Team. Kelly Nilsson, a consultant with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Planning Section of the New York State Emergency Management Office and Lisa Corbett, Disaster Assistance Officer in the Operations Section of the New York State Emergency Management Office. Ladies, thank you for both for joining us today.

Kelly and Lisa: Thank you.

Moderator: We really appreciate you being here. I think the subject of today's program is something that has a lot of interest for a great many people. So, Kelly, maybe we can start with you. Why do we even need to address the needs of animals in emergencies? Why is it important?

Kelly: Well there are a number of reasons actually. Just to name a few, public health and safety issues, moral and ethical issues and legal issues -just to name a few of those.

Moderator: I see in the slide we are talking about you also mention that there are demographic issues to consider. What did you mean by that?

Kelly: Yes. Depending on population density and population type, that also adds to the planning issues that come into place with animals and emergencies. If you have a higher density of people, obviously animal population exponentially goes up. As well as in agricultural areas, you may have a lower density of people but a higher density of large animals to consider.

Moderator: Well on a related subject, to put this in context what are we talking about in terms of the animal population across New York State? Is it a large number?

Kelly: Absolutely. In New York State alone we have millions of owned dogs and cats and
those are just the ones that we know that are owned. But not only do we have to worry
about the pet population, we also need to consider our food and fiber producing animals.

Moderator: You're talking about livestock?

Kelly: Absolutely. In New York State alone we have more than 35,000 farms and of those we have, on any given day 1.4 million head of cattle. To include 98,000 swine and 74,000 sheep and the dairy industry alone in New York State accounts for over $1billion dollars annually and our livestock and poultry accounts for $1.98 billion annually.

Moderator: Obviously this is a National broadcast and those figures may come as a surprise to some of our viewers since when people think of New York they don't necessarily think of agricultural and yet from what you have told me it is a huge impact on our economy.

Kelly: Absolutely.

Moderator: Big planning issue. So for planning purposes, is there a particular way that we can estimate how many animals are within a defined community?

Kelly: Sure. There are several organizations that research pet population. One of those organizations is The American Veterinary Medical Association they have standardized formulas that you can use to estimate the number of pets in a population. So for instance if you have a community of 1,000 households, per their formula the number of households that own dogs, if you multiply those households by .361, it's estimated 361 households of those 1,000 own at least one dog and there are several other formulas for cat, birds and horses.

Moderator: This may be a silly question but what about exotic pets? They're quite popular nowadays?

Kelly: Absolutely. The percentage of ownership of exotic pets and smaller animals is a little bit lower than dogs and cats. But again, there are organizations and agencies that research the trends. One organization that researches trends in the small animals and the exotics is the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association. So that's a good place to look for the latest trends and population on those pets.

Moderator: Lisa, let's bring you into this discussion and lets start by asking you how are the needs of animals related to the needs of public health and safety?

Lisa: Oh they're intertwined. You really can't separate the two. We have seen time and time again that people will not evacuate their homes and put themselves at risk also because if they can't evacuate with their animals.

Moderator: And we of course saw that in Katrina and I think that may be the slide we're looking at.

Lisa: Yes

Moderator: But what happensI mean what are the ramifications if people will not leave because they can't take their animals with them?

Lisa: Well, a couple of things. The first is resources are finitelimited valuable resources that might have to be redirected. An example I remember seeing in the Midwest during those floods on the TV duringduring that coverage and a helicopter was coming in to evacuate a family with their pet and they were on the roof, the flood line was up to the roof. Now, that helicopter might have been used to maybe transport medical supplies to a hospital instead of maybe a rescue attemptso how resources are dedicated to a certain event. The second thing also is it elevates the risk factor to the residents themselves and to the first responders who go into save and rescue the people.

Moderator: And that makes a lot of sense because when you have an evacuation order, there's generally at least a little bit of time to get out safely, but the window is often very short.

Lisa: Can be, yesvery short.

Moderator: If you wait and then need to be evacuated it may be impossible or you may be putting many lives at risk and yet, I understand why people do it if they can't take their pets with them. I assume there are also some more directly public healthrelated issues about leaving pets or failing to evacuate with pets.

Lisa: Absolutely, absolutely. These animals are in a disaster area, so if you leave your pets, there's a good chance that they will spread disease. You never know what's in the floodwaters per se. -there's contaminants. They also can bite, these animals are stressed and they don't know you; they don't know these first responders so the threat of bites are very real. Lastly they're unmanaged. They can join packs and spread thethey would contribute to the growing number of animals.

Moderator: That's already a huge problem. I noticed a sign, on the slide rather that you referred to Zoonotic Diseases. Kelly can you clarify what we mean by Zoonotic Diseases?

Kelly: Sure, a Zoonotic Disease is caused by an infectious agent that can be transmitted from animals to humans and in some cases humans to animals. There are several examples of this. The SARS Virus, Avian Influenza, the West Nile Virus. Those are all Zoonotic Disease that can be transmitted from animal to humans.

Moderator: And the one that would immediately come to find for me, being a dog owner, dog lover is rabies. Also a Zoonotic Disease?

Kelly: Absolutely, and a deadly Zoonotic Disease. If people are looking for more information about those diseases they can contact their local dog control or animal control officers as well as their department's of health and the State Department of Agriculture. They all have really good and helpful information about those diseases.

Moderator: You know what I am going to take a second to put in a plug for the Center for Public health Preparedness. Because if you'd like to learn more, zoonosis, preparedness and public health, please be sure to visit the UAlbany Elearning Center for the web based course which we launched on January 15th. Again, a plug but a really valuable course and a valuable resource, so we wanted our viewers to know it was out there. Lisa, we've stated earlier that there are a number of moral and ethical issues during mergencies that we need to think aboutcan you elaborate on that?

Lisa: Sure. The pets depend on their owners for their food, shelter and safety. People understand this and most people take this responsibility very seriously. Most people would expect the care of their animals the same as their relatives and children. So if a pet is thought of as a family member, then abandoning them during an emergency and leaving them in harm's way just becomes unthinkable. Studies have consistently shown that pet owning households are significantly less likely to evacuate from harm's way. In other cases also, they might return to the disaster scene before it is safe to do so. We've seen that as a public health threat also.

Moderator: I would imagine there would be some psychosocial or emotional ramifications too if you the guilt of leaving your pet behind that could probably contribute to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Lisa: Oh absolutely, absolutely and one of the legal aspects I'm about to speak aboutcongressman Tom Lantos, he just passed awayhe is the one that introduced the Federal Pets Act into being because he saw on the TV a dog being taken away from a young boy and he said this should not be. So that's how the Federal and State Pet's Act came to be.

Moderator: We'll talk to us some more about this Federal and State Pets Act. What does that consistent of? What does it require us to do?

Lisa: The Pets Act is what we call it it is The Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act. And these were both passed in 2006. It amends the Stafford Act which requires state and local emergency preparedness plans address the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals. The law requires these companion animals be provided shelter, rescue and care -their basic essential needs met during a disaster.

Moderator: It sounds like a good idea. Is there some funding associated with this to make it happen?

Lisa: Yes and no. There's no up front funding to get things going, however, the federal Pets Act says there may be financial contributions and recently FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency came out with a disaster assistance policy for eligible cost so there might be reimbursement costs eligible for pet sheltering and those kind of things.

Moderator: Sounds a little tenuous at this point though.

Lisa: Well, with the FEMA Policy at least there is a some recoup possibilities during a

Moderator: And it doesn't get around the fact that it's now the lawwe need to do this, we need to make these plans. It's the right thing to do and now legally we have to do it as well. What about the state's version of the PETS Act? How does the state law differ from the federal statute?

Lisa: The only difference between the two is the federal PETS Act states that financial
contributions might be available. The states act, PETS Act does not take into account
financial considerations. But they both address the needs to plan and its to assist individuals. I want to emphasize that. That both PETS Acts require the disaster plans to assist individuals with household pets and service animals following a disaster. With particular attention given to the evacuation and shelter and transportation.

Moderator: What are some of the initiatives that have arisen out of the states PETS Act?

Lisa: A couple actually. There is a sheltering task force and that was established very soon after the PETS Act came into be. They meet to address sheltering issues. Most recently there's proposed legislation that would cover liability for volunteers working in support of the animals affected by emergency. This is so important because there have been manycommunities have been hesitant to support volunteer staffing, petfriendly shelters because of the liability issues. So this is great news.

Moderator: For instance if a volunteer gets hurt or if an animal gets hurt, the volunteer would have some recourse and not necessarily be in legal jeopardy?

Lisa: For the jurisdiction, that is correct.

Moderator: Okay. That makes I think really good sense when talking about trying to entice people to take on this job. Kelly, I guess a basic question some people might be asking themselves is - well why can't I just bring my pet to whatever shelter I'm going to be at anyway?

Kelly: There are some really good reasons why traditional shelters don't necessarily allow pets to stay with their owners in the evacuation shelter (with the exception of sheltering service animals). Service animals are allowed in any human evacuation shelter. With the evacuation shelters, the human evacuation shelters you can imagine that they're not necessarily the most coordinated and calm locations to be, so animals can be stressed by this environment. When you add animals into that mix, you have other problems that could happen. So of course those that are responsible for sheltering humans you have to take those things into consideration. They're there primarily to protect the health and safety of people. So you can imagine that some of the people that may be sheltered in a human evacuation shelter may have allergies to animals, they may be afraid of animals, they may even have religious reasons why they don't want to have contact with animals. So there's a reason for it and it's understandable. And of course animals in that stressful environment may also -under that amount of stress change their behavior as well. They may become aggressive, they fight with other animals and they may even bite their own family members. So there are good reasons why not all traditional evacuation shelters allow pets.

Moderator: Yeah you stop to think it through it does make a lot of sense even though those of us who are animal lovers can't imagine that someone wouldn't want Fluffy or Fido right next to them. But I can see how and why that would happen and there's probably some more obvious public safety and health issues as wellcleanliness, things like that.

Kelly: Absolutely. Sanitationand a lot of these evacuation shelters also prepare food and provide food so that poses another issue.

Moderator: Yea, I would imagine that's the case. You had mentioned or I had heard about something called petfriendly shelters. I think you mentioned petfriendly shelters in your previous answer. Do many of these exist?

Kelly: Absolutely. It's a growing trend actually, and for many reasons. For many of the same reasons people choose not to evacuate because they don't have a place to go with their pets. So it is, it is a growing trend and the difference between a traditional human evacuation shelter and a petfriendly shelter is that there have been allowances made to shelter pets, owned pets that are accompanied by their owners in one part of the facility while the humans are being sheltered in another area. That way you're not breaking that bond. That humananimal bond. The owners and the animals are under less stress because they haven't brokenthey haven't broken that connection and the owners are there to care for their pets more often, which actually reduces the need for the number of volunteers to maintain and an animal shelter. So it actually has a lot of pros to it.

Moderator: That sounds like that could be a critical component.

Kelly: Absolutely. The number of volunteers is reduced. The stress is reduced and the
whole reunification process of bringing the pet owner and the pet back together is much

Moderator: Kelly, sounds like it would take some extra planning though, to put together a petfriendly shelter as opposed to just a general population shelter.

Kelly: It does and this brings back to the national response plan and the national framework where we're really trying to bring in all the aspects of mitigation and preparedness and planning and response to a disaster. All the different agencies that all have their own respective responsibilities together, to plan together so that we're all working together. So those that may have a responsibility to human sheltering are working alongside those that have a responsibility for animal sheltering. And then those plans can meet in the middle and we can work out things that work best for both.

Moderator: Kelly, if I have to evacuate in an emergency and obviously want to take my pets, but there's no petfriendly shelter available, what are some options?

Kelly: Well there are other alternatives. One alternative is called a temporary emergency animal shelter, which again is an evacuation shelter for displaced animals. Even owned animals may be sheltered in these temporary emergency animal shelters. The difference with the temporary emergency animal shelters is that it's a stand alone facility away from a human shelter. Which again, then poses the issue of you would more than likely need more volunteers to man that shelter and maintain those animals because you don't have the owners available to do so.

Moderator: So perhaps not the ideal situation but it sounds like we need to have a great many options.

Kelly: Absolutely.

Moderator: If the situations going to work best for us. Lisa, we've been ignoring you for too long. So let me throw a broad question out at you: How do we start preparing?

Lisa: We need to become proactive and preparing starts at the home. There are lots of things you can do to lessen the impact of a disaster and to become more selfsufficient.
If a situation is not safe for you, then it is not safe for your pet. You need to make plans for the worse case scenario and you have to assume that normal services and utilities may not be available. It has been said that you should start planning for 72 hours after an event that you need to be selfsufficient during that time.

Moderator: I think I saw something on that slide about a buddy system?

Lisa: Yes.

Moderator: Talk about that that sounds like it is interesting.

Lisa: There is a couple things that you can do. One is to create a buddy system. Family, friends, neighbors you might not always be home when a disaster strikes. So you need to talkcommunicate with your support group. Make sure they have a key to get into your house, that's very important also. You need to communicate with them about where you might meet up, where to go. Phone numbersthey might have your home number however, you need to give a work or cell phone so that they know how to get a hold of you. Another thing that would bethat we recommend as a great idea is to know where the petfriendly lodging would be, motels and hotels in the community you have to know where to go, ahead of time. That's all part of the personal planning.

Moderator: That's a good point you just made. Petfriendlyit's not necessarily intuitive. How are you going to know which motels or hotels accept pets? I travel with a dog and a cat so I know I go to websites.

Lisa: Yes, yes. There are many websites and I know through ASPCA I think there's links to find petfriendly hotels and motels and of course you can always call.

Moderator: I seem to recall one called petfriendlytravel.com, is a good resource. You can just put it into your search engine: petfriendly hotels and come up with your state and that's important because you know if you've got a buddy, I guess it would be your pet's godparent, so to speak, is going to get into your home using the key you provided in advance and take your pet somewhere, it would be a good idea to have an idea where he or she could go and travel safely with him. And again, it has to be done in advance. What else can we do or should we do?

Lisa: Well, to notify first responders when they come to your house, there'sit's called a "pet inside sticker." It - just cling, you know sticks on the window and you can put down how many cats, how many dogs, what animals you have thanks, Kelly.

Moderator: You're welcome.

Lisa: And if you canthere's even a spot that says "please call" and that's an important part that needs to be filled out because(I'll just set it down).

Moderator: I noticed that it is from the ASPCA

Lisa: You can go to their website and order some.

Moderator: Yeah. Good to have. If you put that on your window, "pet inside" I am assuming that if you evacuate and take the pet with you, you should make some kind of notation the pet is no longer inside.

Lisa: Great idea. Great idea. So the first responders will know that the pets are no longer in the house so they don't have to concern themselves with that. Another thing is to also get to know your local emergency response agencies your fire ambulance emergency management office and keep their phone numbers home and also a pet evacuation kit.

Moderator: Okay. I'll bite. What goes in a pet evacuation kit?

Lisa: A pet evacuation kit -it can be anything from one of those plastic totes, depends on how big your animal is. Right down it can even be a tackle box. Water tight is always a good idea. And you need to keep things in there that you would need to take care of your pet and animal during like the first 72 hours. Three days supply of food and water, any medication, that's very important. You need to make sure you have extra medication. That would be something that you would talkwork out with your vet ahead of time. Leash, collar, harnessThis is very important to identify each piece of equipment that you have with the pet's name and also your contact information. It's possible that the pet might come out of the collar so you also want to make sure there's another form of
identification on your pet.

Moderator: And I'm thinking cell phone because you're obviously not at your home phone if you've evacuated.

Lisa: That's correct, or your buddy, family friend, that kind of thing. Crates and carriers are very important. You need to make sure your animals are comfortable enough to be in a crate because at petfriendly shelters that's where they will be in a crate. Kitty litter, you know, whatever you need for your animal and it's very, very important to have your medical records, vaccination records, rabies tags. That will be required at the shelters when you bring your animals. Another great idea is a photo of the pet and especially a photo of you with your pet. That will identify you're the owner.

Moderator: Although sometimes especially purebred dogs and cats look alike but at least that gives you a little head start. Sounded like what you just described is a go kit.

Lisa: Yes, absolutely.

Moderator: Now we have a difficult time getting people to put their own go kits together but maybe they'll do it for their pets sooner than they would for them.

Lisa: That's a great idea. More than likely I have heard people would be more than willing to do that for their pets thannot so muchnot for their family but its easier to have to have everything accessible and ready to go.

Moderator: Of course we are encouraging them to have family and individual go packs and also their pet go kit. What about portability because it sounds like you'd be tugging and lugging a lot of luggage along with everybody's go kits and then your pet go kits. Do they make them on wheels or easily portable?

Lisa: You can make it however and whatever you want it to be. There's many, many different types of tubs or youeven luggage, you know, they're on wheels now, you know. That kind of thing.

Moderator: Are there websites or resources that would offer suggestions of what an ideal pet evacuation kit would look like?

Lisa: There's a lot of information available. You can go to the EmpireSart its www.epmiresart.com, we have information there. The SEMO website, ASPCA and I know you also have a list of resources that was available even before you registered for this.

Moderator: Yeah, and we're going to be showing those website resources a little bit later in the program. So again, have a pencil and paper handy so you can write those down.
All great tips for personal preparedness and I don't think we can stress enough the importance and really the obligation of people to be able to take care of themselves as well as they can and their animal family members as well. But what about as a community, what should we be doing as a community for animal preparedness?

Lisa: Planning. It all comes down to basic planning. The Pets Act states that the local emergency management address the needs of animals in their plan. They have a comprehensive emergency management plan. Part of the planning process is to assess the hazardsthe specific hazards in your communities that you'll face. Hazards vary from region to region as well as the animal populations that Kelly spoke about. The urban areas tend to have a higher pet owning population and the rural areas are more agriculture hot spots. Each community not only assesses their vulnerabilities but then identifies their partners and resources based on what's available in the region.

Moderator: Let's get back to the regional differences do you have some specific examples you can give us?

Lisa: Sure, some examplesLong Island, there's hurricanes out west this time of year, lakeeffect snows and up north is ice stormsin 1998 they had thethat severe ice storm that lasted for weeks and that's a very good reason to point out, that because of the ice storms there were no preidentified resources available, the cows couldn't get milked. This had an extreme lasting effect on the dairy industry, and you heard it's over a $1 billion industry in New York State. A little bit more preplanning can go a long way into keeping the economy going.

Moderator: I recall seeing some TV images of the cows stranded on the ice and some of them had fallen and they couldn't get up. It was terrible. Hopefully a lot of planning has gone into that now. Also I know in counties that have commercial nuclear power plants, they do a lot of planning around what to do with the livestock, both to keep the farmers safe when they have to go in and care for them and I would imagine that again gets to the whole economic issues.

Lisa: Yes. With the nuclear power plant, communities, they are very prepared with their animals and where they can go and how to shelter. It's the other communities that might not thinkit's not going to happen to me and it can even be something as simple as a tanker overturnedand this just happened in Connecticut, they were evacuated, there was a hydrogen release and you have to be evacuated at a moment's notice. So that's even more reason to have your evacuation kit ready, right by the door.

Moderator: Right you're not going to have time to make all your plans when you're now in the response mode. We should probably go back to Kelly because I think we've been ignoring you for long enough. Last month I don't know if you saw the program or not but we discussed and defined community activities that were essential to local emergency preparedness efforts. I would like to ask you who we should consider to be our community partners in terms of dealing with animals in emergencies.

Kelly: Sure. It usually generally starts with local emergency management doing some outreach to bring stakeholders and partners to help them in the planning and preparedness initiatives. So local emergency management officials can reach out to a wide variety of groups and businesses, and just individuals that may have some expertise and interests as well. Some of these maybe veterinary hospitals, veterinarians, veterinary technicians and animal handlers, groomers, boarding facilities, pet shops your feed and supply stores are great resources. The humane society or the S.P.C.A's in your jurisdiction are also very helpful and have a strong interest in animal protection, cooperative extension has a great deal of expertise and does a lot of outreach and networking in the community and of course your dog control and animal control officers play an integral role. There are other groups and clubs as well like your 4H clubs that may be helfpul, breeds clubs, agility clubs, horseman associations, farm associations, all of those could be great community partners.

Moderator: So a little bit earlier we talked about some of the issues around recruiting volunteers but it sounds like and if you really think about it, you do have quite a broad base to start with. But I guess its thinking about it that really is the conundrum. You have to really start searching your mind forwho could help, how could they help and how do you get them engaged?

Kelly: Right.

Moderator: And that's what the SART team is about I would assume.

Kelly: Absolutely that's one of the programs that really helps to bring those community partners together and to help organize them so that they can provide some assistance your to emergency services and emergency management.

Moderator: Another basic question; why engage community partners?

Kelly: Well they bring a lot to the tablethey really do. Emergency managers may not have animal handling skills and not know the needs of animals during disasters. That's why it's important to tap into the resource at the local level. You may have some subject matter experts, people with a lot of experience and expertise that can bring a lot of that knowledge to the table and assist the emergency managers in their planning process. It also helps to build community involvement and awareness of the issues surrounding animals in disastersanimals in emergencies so that those stake holders in the community that do have a strong interest in animal protection are aware of the situations the scenarios that may affect animals. The other thing it does is promote community buyin and assurance in the planning process and it helps to identify those resources within the community that may be helpful.

Moderator: So they may have an interest in this particular issue because it's their livelihood or because they are pet fanciers or just because they wanted to do something but haven't figured out exactly where they could contribute.

Kelly: Absolutely.

Moderator: Someone needs to reach out and show them the way.

Kelly: Absolutely.

Moderator: So Lisa lets ask youcan you share with us some of the other specific resources that a community partner could offer?

Lisa: There's two types of resources. There's people and there's stuff. People bring their expertise, their knowledge to the table like the pet sheltering task force. There's people, they provide education and outreach and the volunteers can manage animals at a petfriendly shelter and that's where a CART can also come in that we're going to talk about later. The stuff are the physical resources like supplies and equipment that are needed and department of agriculture is currently they have a cachet of emergency animal sheltering supplies and a trailer that can be dispatched to anywhere in the state.

Moderator: You talk about stuff. I'm assuming that there's a great deal of stuff that's needed when you think about just what you buy for your own pets on a weekly/monthly basiswe're talking about a community. Where do you store this stuff?

Lisa: Good question. That's where the partners come in that might have a warehouse that you can store, a trailer that department of agriculture is doing can be stored in a parking lot, a central location. If you identify some facilities and warehouses ahead of time, you might be able to store some crates, leashes, that kind of thing right away and of course you always want to reach out to your partners once an emergency happens and bring stuff in at that time.

Moderator: You talked about a lot of partners that have some sort of ties to animal community, but when you talked about a warehouse and bringing stuff to the warehouse, it occurred to me that some nontraditional partners might play a role in this too, for instance those with a chauffer's driver's license can drive that big truck, things like that.

Lisa: Absolutely, that's very important. Your volunteer base needs to be broad. You need to bring a lot of different people in, from chauffeurs, drivers to computer people, IT peopleyou're going to have to set up a system.

Moderator: Inventory stuff.

Lisa: Inventory, absolutely.

Moderator: The supplies, if you're talking about that volume of supplies, I would imagine you need to know where it is, how you get, where its going and how soon it will get there.

Lisa: And that's all part of the planning process also.

Moderator: Exactly. Kelly, we need community partnerspretty convinced of that. So how do we go about organizing them?

Kelly: Well, like I referred to earlier, those that are involved in preparedness initiatives on a local level can do outreach to the local communities through town meetings. Bring those that are interested to a meeting to talk about the issues, you know the stakeholders in the community that have a vested interest in animal protection. Bring them together to a town meeting and discuss the issues of animals in emergencies and start to organize them into community partners and what we refer to as a county animal response team.

Moderator: So talk to us about that modelthere's the state animal response team and the county animal response team, elaborate on that if you would.

Kelly: Well the state and county animal response teams originated in North Carolina after hurricane Floyd because of the devastation that took place there, especially with their agriculture animals. They devised this program that brings those local stakeholders and interested people together, organize them, train them in incident command system and incident management and use them as an operational tool at the local level to handle any emergency or disaster that affects them. At the state level, the state animal response team is more or less their association. The steering committee that provides a foundation for all those county animal response teams or community animal response teams and provide support to them.

Moderator: And what do we call it Empire State Animal Response Team is the over arching group?

Kelly: Right. In New York State, because we are the Empire State, instead of us calling ourselves New York State Animal Response Team we called it Empire State Animal Response Team.

Moderator: So that's ESART. Then of course we have the CART; County Animal Response Team need to get the acronyms right. There a number of states that have these?

Kelly: Yes. In fact, again, that's another growing trend. This model has proved to be very successful and has been tested and was a success on several other occasions in the states that already had a SART and CART program. So it's being replicated all over the country.

Moderator: Well who makes up the Empire State Animal Response Team? Either Lisa or Kelly?

Lisa: Well it's a privatepublic partnership and there's a great group of people that we have. There is state agencies, private industry, individuals. We have a Dutchess County Animal Response Team also is a member of ESART.

Moderator: Who's the lead agency?

Lisa: Department of Agriculture and Markets is the lead agency. ESF 11 -Emergency Support Function, it's a federal term designates agg. as the lead agency for animals.

Moderator: Thank you for clarifying the acronym, always helpful, we had the ESART, SART, CART and ESF 11 so thank you very much for all of that. You know, the obvious question is enough about the animals, don't people come first? Why all this attention on animals?

Lisa: Well, yes, of course people would come first, however, the law states it's to help the individuals to assist the animals. The ESART motto is helping people helping animals. So we are helping the people.

Moderator: And it's people first. You both explained I think really well, why it matters to people that animals matter to them. What are the goals of the Empire State Animal Response Team?

Lisa: We have some very ambitious goals. The first is to establish a statewide communication and coordination system, and that's going to facilitate a rapid and effective response to any animal emergency. The CART concept that Kelly was speaking about is a way to operationalize this goal. Secondly, to decrease the threat to health and safety of humans and animals in emergencies and one example is encouraging an orderly evacuation by having shelters for people and pets to go to. This also protects the health and safety of the first responders

Moderator: And limits disease and the disaster area and for any number of

Lisa: Helps prevent the spread of disease, absolutely. We alsothird goal, is to minimize the economic impact of emergencies that affects animals. This can be accomplished by identifying the resources and facilities ahead of time. As I mentioned before, the '98 ice storm highlighted the importance of knowing what's available in your community.

Moderator: You had mentionedboth of you mentioned earlier the importance of havingknowing where you can go with your animals and I can understand that if it's a pet and go kit, what about if we're talking livestock? Most of the time isn't that a scenario where people will have to get into the disaster area and take care of them? Is that planning function finding a way for them to do that safely?

Lisa: Oh absolutely. The farming industry, theyit's a community unto themselves and they preplan, they have their own buddy system. Horses, alsoyou know its not just
livestock. Horsesthey have their trailers during Saratoga it's a big yeah, it's big.

Moderator: It's an industry.

Kelly: It's a big industry.

Moderator: Yeah a big impact on the economy. Sounds like if the community is wanting to get going on this planning that there's already a lot of knowledge, already a place in the
livestock industry and you can reach out and have them partner with you, you can maybe use some of their models.

Linda: Yes, its part of the preplanningits knowing your partners, knowing what's in the community. It's knowing what's available to you and with the farming industry and livestock and the larger animals, it takes more preplanning for bigger animals. So it you kind of have to do that ahead of time. Make sure you have enough trailers for transportation.

Moderator: And helping people help animals, that motto. Kelly, again, minimize the lossthe emotional loss of people being separated from their animals.

Kelly: Absolutely. That's a big part of it. And again that kind of was the driver for the Pets Acts, was thatbreaking the human/animal bond was clearly shown on CNN during hurricane Katrina. It's a huge impact on people, That human/animal bond, that emotional tie and the emotional separation of animalsit's a driving force to why we need to plan for animals.

Moderator: Such gut wrenching video from that hurricane. People and animals, it was just so difficult to watch. I guess we can see why now there's so many legalities around this. Kelly what kind of skills and expertise would you be looking for in a CART volunteer?

Kelly: Oh, a wide range of skills and expertise are helpful. Not only animal handlers, those that are very experienced with different types of animals and handling them, like your veterinarians, your animal health technicians, your dog control officers but also people with other skills are really, really important your support staff, people with administrative skills, communication skills. Again, Lisa mentioned information technology and communications, transportationwe mentioned that. It helps to have people in your program that have specific licenses to hall large trailers and drive big trucks and operate large equipment. So it reallyit's a wide range of skills that really come into play that become very valuable and helpful including victim support. Things like that. Even before the disaster, you can really utilize the skills of teachers and people that have good public speaking and communication skills and outreach skills to do that preparedness part of that, bringing the information to the community and helping them prepare themselves.

Moderator: And I suppose you put together job action sheet for all these volunteers?

Kelly: Absolutely.

Moderator: Part of the planning process and publicize what you need and maybe people will volunteer.

Kelly: So again, you don't necessarily have to be a veterinarian to play a very intricate role in your county animal response team. You could be a retired person with a great deal of experience and skills in communications and public outreach and be a very valuable tool.

Moderator: We are going to continue our discussion in just a minute but we want to remind you that we will be ready to take your calls in just a few minutes. Reminding you about the call in numberthe toll free number is 8004520662. Again you may send your written questions by fax to 5184260696 or to the email address that you see on you screen. We want to hear from you and we want you to participate in the program so please do call. We talked about the valuable part that farmers could play because they've got their preplans, they've got their models but in an emergency, Kelly, or Lisa, whoever wants to comment, aren't they going to be too tied up with their own issues? I mean this is not just emotional this is their livelihood. Can they really be valuable when something happens, as part of the response?

Kelly: They may be, if their farm, especially if their farm has not been affected. And Again, Lisa referred to this earlier that they've really been ahead of the game on this. They are usually a pretty close group that network together. Farmers taking care and helping each other, you know, providing resources for each other. So they already have the buddy system down. So even if you consider that some of your farmers may be impacted there may be others that aren't impacted and they can be valuable program partners. Part of your CART team to assist those farms that have been affected.

Moderator: You talk about some nontraditional partners a couple of minutes ago. I think you said IT staff, teachers, social workers, did you mention or would it be valuable to have emergency responders, say EMT's, paramedics if they're available? Can they assist in an animal emergency?

Kelly: Several actually do belong to some of their county animal response teams. But again its going to depend on where the priorities lie and if they're called to action to provide human services, that may be where they are. But on some occasions where maybe one county is affected and another is not, there may be a mutual aid agreement between the counties where one CART can assist another CART and in that case, if that emergency services worker isn't tasked with a human service issue, they may play a role in the county animal response team mutual aid.

Moderator: Is funding an issue in collaborations like that?

Kelly: It can be, but in fact what we've been finding is that in the more rural less densely populated areas, what they're doing is there using that mutual aid more. They're bringing together the limited resources from several counties and putting it together into one regional team. So you may have several counties that the jurisdiction lines may be grey, depending on density of population or they may not have high population and in those cases, it's actually more beneficial to those counties to work together and develop a mutual aid agreement or a memorandum of understanding where they can use each other's resources

Moderator: Yeah maximize your synergy.

Kelly: Absolutely.

Moderator: Well it sounds like the ball is rolling with the CART's and ESART's and where do we go from here? How do we keep the momentum up?

Kelly: Well, again, it goes back to volunteer management a lot of the time and it's difficult for any organizations that's used to relying heavily on volunteers to keep that momentum going but by holding frequent meetings, keeping the activity going, that really helps to keep people interested and keep them active in the group. Providing preparedness training, very specialized trainings for people that have a strong interest in being at the pointy end of the stick or in the boat so to speak. Having that specialized training available really helps to keep the motivation going. Also scheduling public outreach programs. Also keeps your volunteers interested and out there in the community and feeling like they've accomplished something. And then of course you obviously want to recognize your volunteerstheir contribution, their involvement. Recognizing them and thanking them for everything that they're doing really helps to keep them going.

Moderator: What about drills and exercises? Obviously you got to play it out. Are CART teams routinely involved in drills and exercises?

Kelly: Sure, as they develop. First you have to get them organized and get their feet wet and get them in a more coordinated group and define who is playing what role in the team but once they start to organize and develop their teams, then they can get some specialized training. Make sure that they have what we call the incident command system training, which is a necessity. Once they have that established, and a well organized team established, then they can be integrated into other training with the other local emergency services and participate in some of the exercises and drills so that you can then evaluate their ability to respond to animal issues.

Moderator: I think you mentioned before the program that in Western New York Dr. David Chico has really been working with the CART team?

Kelly: Absolutely, Dr. David Chico is our steering committee member and the head of the program for Empire SART through the Department of Agriculture and Markets. He's currently actually attending or participating in an exercise in Western New York.

Moderator: Oh, okay. I think we see him on the screen there.

Kelly: That's Dr. Chico.

Moderator: That's not the weather we're having in Western New York today however. (laughter). We want to have some truth in advertising there. So that's going on right now, that exercise.

Kelly: Absolutely and he's participating in that.

Moderator: Do you know the scenario?

Kelly: No I haven't been apprised of the scenario but we are rooting for him (laughter).

Moderator: That's great. That's great. Who else is participating in that in terms of the CART Members? What kind of community partners are in that exercise?

Kelly: Quite honestly, I'm not sure who's been involved or has been invited to participate in that exercise, but I do know thatactually another member of our Empire SART steering committee is also in that exercise, now that I think of it. We also have on our Empire State Animal Response Team steering committee Cornell, Cornell University, their diagnostic lab, as well as Cornell Cooperative Extension. Those two organizations are also part of our SART and Belinda, Dr. Belinda Thompson, who is part of Cornell's diagnostic lab, is also participating in that exercise.

Moderator: So if members of the audience wan to get involved, Lisa how do they do that?

Lisa: There's a couple of things that they can do. They can volunteer, with their local Emergency Animal Response Team, which is actually through the local emergency management office. I do want to make sure that's understood. They can build their support network for emergencies. They can reach out to the local shelters, humane societies, that's always a good place to start. They can also attend the ESART orientation, they can go online, it's a webbased CART course through the Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness. That's a great way to get your basic information and it talks about pretty much everything we said and what is required.

Moderator: Tell us a little more about that online course. Does it entail a significant amount of invest of time?

Lisa: No, it should only about an hour and because it's online you can do it at your leisure. You know, can do five minutes at a time, one module at a time. It will give you your basic information of what's expected from this ESART and a CART

Moderator: Okay. What about some other resources, are they available? We talked earlier about web based resources what are good ones that people who are interested in the subject ought to take a look at?

 Lisa: ICS.

Moderator: Incident Command System.

Lisa: Incident Command System, thank you.

Moderator: Because that will be the prerequisite to just about everything?

Lisa: Correct and that's from FEMA. Fema.gov website if they're interested in doing thathazmat courses are also. The SART USA is a great place to begin. Red Cross has a lot of information, ASPCA and of course I do have to plug the SEMA website. We have a lot of great information and links on anything that they would need to know.

Moderator: We talked about inside pet, pet inside stickers and those are from the ASPCA.

Lisa: Correct.

Moderator: You know we have had a couple of questions faxed in and I don't know who wants to take them, but let me start out and whoever feels they'd like to answer and somebody else can jump in. The first one is from the Vermont Health Department. What human vaccinations are being recommended or being used on animals in emergency situations?

Lisa: Great question. Kelly, why don't you take that (laughter).

Kelly: What human vaccinations are beingwhat was the question?

Moderator: What human vaccinations are being recommended or being used on animals in emergency situations? Well lets start by, let me just hopefully clarify the question. What kind of vaccinations do animal response volunteers need definitely to have?

Kelly: That's a good question. That one I can answer pretty easily. Again, its going to depend on your frequency of contact with animals depending on what role you're playing in your county animal response team. If you're going to be out in the impact area and trying to handle and manage animals, your first response group should definitely have their hepatitis vaccinations "a" and "b." That's helpful. You can also get preexposure rabies vaccinations which I think at this point it's a series of three vaccinations for that. That is also very helpful for those that are handing animals of unknown origins, unknown vaccination history. Then some of your other basic that you usually get in childhood are also helpful. You also have to make sure that your tetanus is up to date. In many cases you're in a risky environment where there's a lot of debris and, you know, rust, broken things and

Moderator: That old rusty nail that mom used to warn us about, right? So if you want to be a CART volunteer, you're going to get these vaccinations in advance, right? You wouldn't wait until there's an emergency because it takes some time to develop antibodies.

Kelly: You should try to get some of these in advance and some of your program partners may already have them

Moderator: Like wildlife

Kelly: Wildlife rehabilitators and your dog control and your animal control officers typically already have the rabies preexposure vaccines. Some of these vaccines are somewhat pricey. So again, like with the rabies preexposure, you may limit that to just the group in your team that's going to be out there at the most risk. For those that may be providing administrative services and whatnot, they might not need that series of vaccines. They might not need those hepatitis shots. Those out there in flood waters, or trying to manage animals of unknown origins they should have those vaccines.

Moderator: What about antibiotics, should we stock pile some of them to have on hand?

Kelly: Well, again, I would probably bring that question back to your medical staff and your local veterinarian to determine what medications you should stock pile because again, certain medications, especially ones that have an expiration date don't necessarily holdup in certain environments. So stockpiling certain medications may notmay not be worthwhile. So it would again go back to some of your preplanning at the local level and bringing in your local veterinarians and medical staff to determine actually which medications and vaccines are good to stockpile and which are best to wait until you need them and have them brought in.

Moderator: Actually we had a question along that line faxed in, and a very specific disaster scenario. The person who asked the question is talking about an anthrax episode and which if any oral antibiotics can be given to household pets and/or livestock and he mentioned sipro, doxycycline, amoxicillin and some that are specific I believe to veterinary use and one which is mentioned is enrofloxcin. I am thinking you are going to tell me you have to ask your veterinarian.

Kelly: You have to ask your veterinarian what is safe for your animals. The best bet is to ask your personal veterinarian. If you have a regular veterinarian that you visit, it's really important that you discuss these type issues. Any medical or medicine type issue question that you might have, you really need to talk to someone, you know, in medicine. A veterinarian or your doctor about those questions. Because their going to know what safe for you to have, there also going to know what's safe for your pet. And if your pet has a specific medical history and may have allergies or may have bad reactions to certain drugs and vaccines, your personal vet is going to know that and their going to be able to advise you what's the safest option for them.

Moderator: And you've already answered the followup question to this one because the person who wrote in also wanted to know about how do you adjust those antibiotic dosages according to your animal's weightsomething you are going to have to ask your veterinarian.

Lisa: I would also like to add to that toothat is part of your planning process if you assess your hazards, you know what's going to happen in your own backyard. If your in the foot plains, that kind of thing. Part of the planning process is what medicines would be available. That's why you bring in your partnersdepartment of health, your local vet, you know that kind of thing, into the planning process, cause that would already be spelled out in the plan.

Moderator: This might be a little out of your lane, but a Suffolk County Health Department question has come in asking about the strategy for dealing with dog bites and/or rabies at a shelter and that would accept animals. Again, part of the plan.

Lisa: Absolutely.

Kelly: Right. That goes back to policy issues and legal issues. You know, you have to follow the state regulations and local regulations on the procedures of dog bite issues.
So you may actually have state law and state regulations that kind of give you that standard operating procedure for dealing with dog bites. You may also have something at
the county level to follow. In emergencies, sometimes those procedures may be adjusted, depending on the situation and those answers would have to come from those with the responsibility of upholding those standard operating procedures. They would have the answers. So actually it would go back to the counties department of health, the state department of health and any other entities that may have statutory responsibility to handle the procedures for something like that.

Lisa: It's also a good idea to know the volunteers in a shelter. That's why you would have the vet techs, people who know how to handle animals and can identify an aggressive animal, that kind of thing. That's all part of the planning process.

Kelly: You reduce your risk when you bringwhen you tap into the resources that have the expertise to manage animals like that.

Moderator: Can people make donations in term of supplies.

Lisa: I would be glad to take anything!

Kelly: Absolutely! (laughter)

Moderator: You know what you've been doing such a wonderful job at answering these adlib questions; I want to put you on the spot more, to do that. I want to encourage our viewers to send in some more calls and faxes and we are ready to take additional calls now. Let me remind you of that toll free number, its 8004520662 or you may send your written questions by fax, as quite a few of you have done. That number, 5184260696 or another option, we always want to have planning optionssend it to the email address that you see on your screen. One question that was faxed inand its actually both a question and a comment. Stacey says to us "I think a reunification plan is just as important as an evacuation plan" and to that extent she wants to remind people about
the importance of micro chips.

Kelly: Sure.

Moderator: Can you explain what those are and why they are so important?

Kelly: Well microchips are about the size of a piece of rice and they're injected under the skin of your pet by a veterinarian typically or in some cases at your local humane society or ASPCA, they also and in general animal control often have those devices as well. The microchip, what it does is it stays within the animal underneath the skin and it often doesn't float around too much it usually stays where it belongs, where you injected it. Very similar to scanning something at the grocery store, there are scanners that you scan over the animal that most animal control and dog control officers have, most humane societies, ASPCA'S and veterinarian and veterinary hospitals have them. You scan over the animal and when the reader finds the chip, a number illuminates on the reader kind of like a social security number for your animal, it's an identification number and it also gives information on what database is storing the owner's information. Which is critical and this is something that I want to emphasize. If you microchip your pet, you
must be very careful and keep the information that the database holder has of you
keep that fresh. So if you move, change your phone number, you want to make sure
that you keep that information updated in the database. If you've purchased or adopted a
pet that already has a microchip, you want to make sure that you contact that database company to make sure that they know who the new owner is and your address and your phone number and things like that and keep that updated. Otherwise the microchip means
nothing. You might have a microchip, you might have a number but the database doesn't know who it belongs to. So it's very, very important that those that have microchips in
their pet, keep that information updated with the database that you're using.
So the microchip will have a number and it will also have a phone number and the database that you have your information stored in and that way whoever has your pet can call that number, give the social security number of your animal to that database, call the information call line and they can tell you, oh, that's Jane Doe's, she lives here and that's her phone number.

Moderator: Well actually my dog is named Jane Doe, that's her name Jane Doe, she was a rescue. She does have a microchip, thanks for telling me about the database because I guess I would imagine that it is something you would recommend, not to put words in your mouth, but it sounds like a really good idea. Where can people find out more about that?

Kelly: Local veterinarians and local animal shelters are the best place to look. Just about any local veterinarian has the ability, has the microchips on hand to inject into your pet and in some cases some ASPCAS, some humane societies and animal control facilities have them as well.

Moderator: Actually the person who sent in this comment thought it was really important that there be low cost alternatives to make this microchipping possible and as a matter of fact, I believe we did get the microchip at the same shelter that we got our dog. I think it might have been $15, $20, it was not a great deal of expense.

Kelly: And it's actually speaking of which, it's actually a great program, an outreach program that a lot of County Animal Response Teams get involved in. That's something that your County Animal Response Team cannot only provide to the community, have these microchip clinics but it also if, they're notforprofit organization, helps to support that County Animal Response Team so that they can buy the needed supplies for a response.

Lisa: Which is where the donations should go.

Moderator: If you want to think about becoming a volunteer for and an animal response team, should you take a pet first aid course or anything like that? What kind of training would you advise people to get?

Kelly: Well, again, I guess I would go back to the County Animal Response Team Orientation, that's a good first start. Getting in contact with your local emergency services to find out if one of these organizations is developing and then again, going back to some of those online courses that are available through the FEMA website and some inclassroom courses that are available through the State Emergency Management Office. The State Emergency Management Office has a training section which travels throughout New York State and provides the Incident Command System training at the local level. So anyone of those avenues is a good place to start. There are actually some animals in disaster orientation courses through FEMA as well. Those are probably the best avenues to start and then once you've gotten to know your local organization, start attending some of their meetings and some of the specialized training they may bring in.

Moderator: And I do want to remind people we do have resources available on this subject as well as a number of others on The Center for Public Health Preparedness website so we encourage you to take a look there. Wanted to ask a question, I don't know whether Lisa or Kelly, who wants to answer it. Comes from the Philadelphia office of Emergency Management and its regarding the federal Pets Act. This person feels that it's too narrowly defined, too exclusive to domestic animals and perhaps should be broadened. How can planning move forward he asks in a larger scale that would include larger and exotic animals? Is it too petfocused? Lisa?

Lisa: Is it too pet focused? I would say no, it's not too focused. I think what's happened is they identified specific animals, so domestic pets and service animals, you know, companion animals, exotics and larger animals, they require different a different set of
rules that needs to be addressed. The Pets Act is a great place to start, we needed to start
somewhere and it can always be expanded to include exotics and the definitions of reptiles and that kind of thing. So it's a great place to start, we had to start somewhere.

Moderator: I want to go back to the point you made earlier because refresh me again on the SART motto, ESART motto.

Kelly: Our Empire SART motto is helping people helping animals.

Moderator: Helping people, helping animals.

Kelly: So as Empire SART, our role is to help CARTs develop so that they can help their community and that includes the people in their community and their animals.

Moderator: And we love our animal friends but it's about the people really. It recalls to meI participated in some radiological emergency preparedness exercises and there's a point in the radiological emergency preparedness plan for the state at which farmers are ordered to shelter their livestock. And it always comes before any emergency protective actions are taken for people. During the press conferences, it's always asked, well why are you worried about the animals before you worry about the people? And of course the issue is you can't protect the people if they're there trying to take care of their animals.

Kelly: Right. It always comes back to the people because again it goes back to their livelihood and that human/animal bond.

Moderator: So if you

Kelly: They can't be separated.

Moderator: Go ahead Lisa.

Lisa: Also to, with the radiological planning, to shelter the animals, that's your food source because if there is anything that falls from the sky, the animals are going to eat it andit would be absorbed so you have to shelter your animals. The people are already sheltered in place, already. So that would be one of the reasons why.

Moderator: Again, all about people and that's why we're helping the animals. What about a contact for further information? Who should our viewers contact?

Kelly and Lisa: Dr. Chico.

Moderator: Not today though, right now he's at an exercise.

Lisa: Hi contact information is on the screen right now.

Moderator: Okay and you will let Dr. Chico know that a number of people may be calling him possibly.

Lisa: Absolutely. (laughter)

Moderator: Next time we speak we'll speak about what the exercise was about.

Kelly: Yes we'll find out.

Moderator: There he is again, Dr. Chico. He'll be as famous as Dr. Phil before the day is over. (laughter)

Lisa: There you go.

Moderator: Thank you very much for joining us, Kelly and Lisa. It's been a very informative discussion today. For you watching the broadcast, please complete the online evaluations. Continuing education credits are available after completing the post test and your feedback is always helpful to the development of our future programs. Just a reminder this program will be available via web streaming within two weeks. Please see our website for more details. We hope you'll join us on March 13th for a program on Pandemic Flu Planning for Colleges and Universities that's cosponsored by our partners from the upper Midwest Center for Public Health Preparedness at the University of Iowa College of Public health. I'm Chris Smith, we'll see you next time on the University at Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness Grand Round Series.




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