AVMA, AVMF, Red Cross: Working together for disaster safety


To better coordinate animal-rescue efforts during times of disaster, the AVMA, AVMF and the American Red Cross are working together.

NATIONAL REPORT — To better coordinate animal-rescue efforts during times of disaster, a decade-old "statement of understanding" between the AVMA, AVMF and the American Red Cross is now formalized.The new Memorandum of Understanding replaces an agreement penned in 1998.

"I am eager to see how we can collectively address challenges in disaster preparedness and response as we look to prepare families for the unexpected," says Dr. Heather Case, American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) coordinator for emergency preparedness and response.

It is estimated that 100,000 animals, pets and livestock are separated from their owners and/or lost during a major natural disaster. One goal of the new memorandum is to reverse that trend.

Chicago chapters of the Red Cross and the AVMA have been meeting already to address a problem following house fires: temporary housing for pets. The Red Cross provides temporary housing for human victims of fires but not for pets.

A new program being developed by the two groups would create a network of local veterinarians to house animal victims of a house fire. Once implemented in Chicago, it's hoped that it will be duplicated across the country, officials say.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) is the charitable branch of the AVMA that funds disaster response and emergency preparedness training and accepts charitable contributions on behalf of those efforts.

It will help fund programs developed under the cooperative arrangement. The AVMA will serve as a technical adviser to the Red Cross on all animal and veterinary-related aspects of disaster-response efforts.

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