Emergency preparedness experts, citizen volunteers, and animal advocates convened this past week for an “Animals in Disaster Workshop for Emergency Managers and Pet Owners”. The half-day workshop was hosted by the Metropolitan College of New York.
One of the participating organizations, the Pet Safe Coalition, explains that educating the public about preparedness for their animal companions is crucial: “Some people won’t leave their homes without their pets and many local evaluation shelters will not accept pets, so pet owners must make their own arrangements to keep their pets safe during a disaster. No pet owner should ever have to make the gut-wrenching decision to leave a beloved pet behind in an emergency situation.”
Workshop presenters included Shelley Lee Johnson, Pet Safe Coalition Volunteer Training Coordinator and Social Media Coordinator; Niki Dawson, Hudson County Animal Response Team Director; Megan Fliegelman, Regional Catastrophic Planning Team Volunteer Preparedness Plan Manager; Mike Arcari, Nassau County OEM CERT Coordinator; and Lanette Raymond, PhD, Long Island Parrot Society President & Long Island Rabbit Rescue.
Following the presentations, the event participants formed working groups for a table top exercise. The goal of the exercise was to transform a single-story school and adjoining parking areas into a temporary sheltering station for animals. A floor plan of the school property was provided to each group. The groups, each facilitated by a speaker, were then tasked with organizing their facility using the sheltering and emergency care principals they had learned in the preceding sessions. The leader of each group then presented its solution to the full assembly for discussion.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANIMAL CARE AND SHELTERING:
NYC OEM’s “Ready New York for Pets” is available in English, Spanish, Russian, and Mandarin. There is also a downloadable recording of the guide in English.
Bunny owners should visit the House Rabbit Society