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Disaster preparation

Hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods, large-scale hoarders—these are just some of the natural and man-made disasters that animal welfare groups have to deal with. If something happened, would your organization be prepared? We have resources to help you develop your disaster preparedness plan.

  • Disaster FAQ

    What shelters and rescues need to know about the Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey, as well as the wildfires in Oregon and Montana.

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Most recent Tools and Resources > Disaster preparation

  • Magazine Article

    Put it in writing

    Written agreements were key to rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and helped ensure that partnering organizations were pulling in the same direction.

    Good written agreements make for better relationships, in disasters and everyday shelter work

    Twelve years ago, Hurricane Katrina left chaos in its wake. Animal welfare agencies across the country hustled to get animals to safety, but the scope of such a massive response made it difficult to coordinate efforts. Sometimes it was hard to tell who was in charge of what, who had the authority to make decisions, or where animals had gone post-evacuation. 

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  • Magazine Article

    Disaster FAQ

    What shelters and rescues need to know about the Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey, as well as the wildfires in Oregon and Montana.

    What shelters and rescues need to know about the Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey, as well as the wildfires in Oregon and Montana.

    Read More

  • Magazine Article

    Out of the ashes

    After a November 2015 fire at Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals Shelter in Paxton, Massachusetts, shelter manager Melanie Kenadek surveys the devastation. Only four animals survived.

    Is your organization at risk of a fire tragedy?

    Shelter fires are all too common and, all too often, leave lives and communities shattered in their wake. In this issue’s “101” department, learn about fire prevention and suppression from shelter architects and staffers whose lives have been touched by the ordeal.

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  • Magazine Article

    Answering the call

    At a temporary shelter located at a fairgrounds in Gordon, Alabama, a veterinarian and a field responder examine animals seized from a hoarding situation in 2011.

    When disaster strikes, veterinarians are key to successful rescue and response operations

    When disaster strikes, shelter veterinarians may suddenly find themselves dealing with scores of sick or injured animals in a makeshift medical setting. The work is demanding both physically and mentally, and the rewards—knowing you’ve helped the victims of a hurricane or a hoarding situation—can be great. But disaster response requires more than just good intentions. To be effective, you need proper training, flexibility and adherence to protocols for assessing and treating animals in disaster situations.

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  • Blog Post

    How prepared for disaster are you?

    Is your organization prepared for a disaster? A plan is only effective if it is flexible and it is practiced regularly.

    The senior manager of disaster response for The HSUS walks us through common disaster issues shelters and rescues face, and what we can do to prepare for them.

    When I sat down at my computer to write about how shelters need to be prepared for crisis, I could hear reports breaking on CNN about the historic flooding in the state of Louisiana. Of course, I quickly grew distracted and numb watching the devastating images onscreen. Reports of thousands of people rescued—and concerns of animal shelters under water. Even more news of people leaving pets behind and shelters unable to evacuate because of a lack of resources. How could this be? I thought we’d come so far!

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  • Magazine Article

    From crisis to care

    A Sharpie and an ID band are all it takes to create a makeshift yet functional collar. Dog No. 7 was one of more than 100 dogs rescued from a Mississippi puppy mill in 2010.

    Partnerships, planning and protocol are vital to emergency sheltering

    Disasters are inherently chaotic. Whether it’s a flood or a hurricane, everything can change at a moment’s notice. In large-scale cruelty seizures, the scene can be equally as crazy, especially when you’re looking after hundreds of animals and people are working around the clock. Emergency sheltering requires different resources and protocols than permanent sheltering, and when you’re preparing for it, you’ll need to consider everything from supplies to staffing to intake. Through planning and partnerships, you can bring order to chaos and better help the animals in your care.

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