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Animals in Disasters Course – a Successful Launch Nationwide

By Chris Brunner, March 26, 2017

Cattle and sheep in field

The first responder training course AWR 328, All Hazards Preparedness for Animals in Disasters, launched in early March from Santa Rosa, California, with a second course following in Superior, WI.

The awareness level course provides first responders with the tools to protect, respond to, and recover from consequences of disasters involving animals in rural communities. Shattering events such as fire, flood, heat, earthquake, tornadoes, hurricanes, hazardous materials and catastrophic disease exposure hold unique issues to be considered and addressed when animals are involved in an emergency.

AWR 328 course, Santa Rosa, CA

Santa Rosa course participants work to solve fire disaster scenario during table-top exercise.

The course, designed by WIFSS, consists of a 4-hour web-based portion and an 8-hour instructor-led portion. Much of the course content is presented in the web-based session. The instructor-led portion consists of table-top problem-solving activities that are based on the web-based content. AWR 328 is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium, and WIFSS.

Tracey Stevens an animals in disaster instructor with WIFSS was on-site in Santa Rosa and Superior for the instructor-led portion of the course.

In Santa Rosa, 51 first responders including livestock producers, emergency managers, veterinarians, extension agents, veterinary technicians, rural community leaders, public and human health personnel, fire and law enforcement officials, attended the instructor-led course held on March 4th at the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. Zachary Hamill from Emergency Coordinator at Sonoma County Fire & Emergency Services hosted the course.

AWR 328, Superior, WI

Tracey Stevens, kneeling front row left, joins first responders in Superior course

Thirty seven people attended the one-day course held on March 16th at the University of Wisconsin. Animal rescue, emergency managers, firefighters, police, veterinarians, technicians, and zoo workers, were among the participants. Jeromy Cowell, MST1 from the U.S Coast Guard, MSU Duluth hosted the course.

In addition to DHS certification, AWR 328 is also approved for veterinary and registered veterinary technician continuing education units in all 50 states through the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

March is a busy month for Stevens as she serves as course instructor in Highland Heights, KY, at the end of the month. View Upcoming Course Offerings here.