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Will Your Response be a Natural Disaster?

A mock shelter evacuation illuminates the good, the bad, and the potentially lethal during crisis response

A mock shelter evacuation illuminates the good, the bad, and the potentially lethal during crisis response

Though natural disasters tend to pack the element of surprise, your shelter doesn’t need to be caught off guard.

A recent study published in Anthrozoös(Vol. 20, No. 4), conducted by the University of Colorado’s Leslie Irvine, Ph. D., concluded that volunteers and the media will play a crucial part in any animal shelter evacuation. Yet both are double-edged swords—and which way the blades swing depends on some simple but indispensible preparation.

When a metropolitan Colorado shelter had to relocate its animals due to construction, management decided to use the move as a trial run for a disaster scenario evacuation. “The aim was to relocate all dogs and cats while maintaining kennel records and any medications,” wrote Irvine, who observed the exercise for her study. “It was an opportunity to determine how quickly the animals could be evacuated.”

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