Animals in Disasters: How to Help Your Community

Animals in Disasters: How to Help Your Community
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2020-12-03
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Animals in Disasters
Unit 2 Transcript: Animals in Disasters
Unit 3 Workbook: Animals in Disasters
Unit 4 Recording: Animals in Disasters

Probably one of the best developments that we’ve seen in the last few years related to critical event and disaster response is how agencies responsible for preparations and rescue are now considering pets in their efforts. This only makes sense as not allowing pets into emergency shelters make people, who regard their pets as family members, reluctant to evacuate putting their lives as well as response and rescue staff at risk.

This course unpacks the nitty-gritty of setting up emergency resources for animals in disasters with Beth Gammie from Red Rover. Beth is the Director of Field Services for RedRover where she leads the RedRover Responders program which provides emergency animal sheltering in natural disasters and large-scale cruelty seizures throughout the United States and Canada.

This session’s discussion is about:

  • The Red Rover Responders Program – the services they provide in various disasters and the collaborations they’re involved in.
  • How disasters impact communities which underlines the importance of pre-disaster planning and post-disaster response.
  • Why the inability to integrate animal sheltering into disaster response management is likely to lead to a public safety issue.
  • Expectations on the services of the emergency animal shelters and the animal population it must look after and care for.
  • The sheltering types/set-up to choose from depending on the available resources to you.
  • Factors to take into account when selecting the shelter site that looks into the needs to properly care for the animals and the available facilities.
  • The critical areas in an emergency shelter, the specific shelter, and how the layout must match the flow of the people.
  • Considerations for the physical set-up in terms of keeping the shelter clean and safe, and providing the needs of the animals for ventilation and exercise/enrichment while remaining secure.
  • Sourcing supplies by building up own cache, collaborating with partners who can provide grants and resources, and mobilizing businesses and the community to help through donations.
  • Staffing considerations to maintain and manage the shelter – the personnel needed, the roles needed, and the most common sources for personnel and volunteers.
  • Managing the emergency animal shelter effectively by assigning a legal authority over the operations, and funneling external support and aids.
  • Providing veterinary care within the shelter – where to source professionals to provide vet care, the expected services to be provided, and establishing protocols.
  • Keeping families together that get separated because of the disaster.
    • The intake process to ensure each animal is accounted for.
    • Maintaining a system to document and locate animals admitted in the emergency shelter.
    • Setting up a reunification team to notify the community of unclaimed pets in the shelter, match people who lost their pets to the ones in your shelter, and identify pets and verify ownership.
    • Providing shelter-in place options and extending the claiming period in the shelter to allow owners time to find their pets.
    • Preventing surrenders when possible and managing surrendered/abandoned pets in the shelter and how to place them for adoption if remained unclaimed.
  • Post-sheltering considerations particularly with the supply stocks.

Questions from the audience were about:

  • Disaster response animal intake software that may be used.
  • The adoption of pet-friendly sheltering as part of disaster response.
  • Volunteering for Red Rover.
  • Providing specialized care for exotic animals in emergency shelters.
  • Administering emergency care for animals and coordinating these with owners.
  • Outdoor shelter ideas for missing cats in areas where the residents lost their homes due to the disaster.




Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “The resources listed in the webinar were very helpful.” — Heather
  • “Beth is such a great presenter and an absolute STAR in the disaster sheltering field. Very useful guidance in just the basics to think about before the disaster strikes.” — Jennifer
  • “I loved learning about all the other resources offered by different organizations for disaster relief!” — Tracy
  • “Took in a lot, but this was one of the most informative sheltering in disaster seminars I’ve ever attended. Thank you!” — Maureen
  • “Well focused…. always excellent presenters who are leaders in the field. Well done.” — Mark
  • “I have a lot of experience in this area and I still learned things–mostly details that you usually have to learn from experience.” — Bob
  • “Amazing amount of information provided.” — Phyllis
  • “A very important part of any Disaster. Excellent info.” — Robert
  • “So much information!! It was excellent! I will just need to keep watching & learning!” — Madeline



View our Animal Welfare Webinar  Schedule and Recordings



This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.




This webinar has been pre-approved by the Maine Animal Welfare Program for 1 Continuing Education Unit for the State of Maine’s ACO annual training. You can find more information about Certification, required annual training or submitting materials for credit at Maine’s Animal Control Officer Resource Page.





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