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Are Veterinarians Being Utilized in Disaster Relief?
Although a growing number of emergency management organizations are including veterinarians, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Although a growing number of emergency management organizations are including veterinarians, there is still a lot of work to be done, says Christa Gallagher, DVM, CCRP, MPH, DACVPM, assistant professor of veterinary public health and epidemiology at the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.
“A lot of organizations are involving veterinarians, but it really depends on the location. As part of our panel we had an emergency manager from North Carolina that I actually know very well. North Carolina is excellent in their emergency planning and response and they absolutely encourage and seek out veterinarians to participate in these activities. But it's not that way yet with every municipality.
So, I think again, the more that we need to do 2 things. We need for vets I think to seek out and present themselves to emergency management where you know really kind of show their value where they can help, because animals are part of every disaster—if it affects humans it affects animals. So that's a really important thing to think about. Human safety actually gets to be an issue, human safety is put at risk, because people are concerned about their pets. Some won't evacuate because of their pets. So again we really need to include veterinarians because animals are affected by every disaster.”