What do you do when your horses are caught in an accident? Or need to be evacuated because of flood or fire? What do you do when your horse is trapped?
It’s not easy to be fully prepared for every contingency, but advanced training and preparation are essential for first responders, veterinarians and animal owners. Recent weather events have led to declarations of emergency in 50 of California’s 58 counties, and there has been flooding in Britain, fires in Australia and New Zealand, which have all threatened horses and other animals.
Pet and livestock safety has become a growing concern in the face of increased numbers of deadly wildfires and floods. Although disaster plans have been implemented for human and property safety, there is a critical lack of funding and standardization for the animal component of disaster planning.
But major advances in disaster preparedness are being supported at California’s UC Davis, with its Center for Equine Health (CEH) teaming up with the International Animal Welfare Training Institute and other entities of the School of Veterinary Medicine.
The CEH has brought in animal rescue specialist Jim Green from Britain for a year-long collaboration. Green is the co-founder and director of the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association and has developed mechanisms to train veterinarians and rescue personnel for everyday incidents and to share best practices in technical rescue.
Green has successfully created and implemented programs in the United Kingdom Fire and Rescue Service to educate and integrate first responders and veterinarians in incidents involving animals.
In the US, he will coordinate with the university as well as local and state emergency response stakeholders to investigate a similar standard operating procedure in California. In return, Green has an interest in learning about the impact of large scale disasters and community preparedness throughout the state.
Training opportunities and related activities will be offered to veterinarians, first responders and horse owners, and those interested in supporting the venture can give online.