Disaster Preparation Strategies for Veterinarians

August 26, 2016
VMD Staff

What are the responsibilities of veterinarians when disaster strikes their local communities?

Anne McCann, national emergency programs coordinator at the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal Care, outlines disaster preparation strategies for local veterinarians.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability).

“Local veterinary practices, first and foremost, need to prepare themselves for disasters and that really [means that they should be able to answer] if a disaster happens in their community, what are they going to do about it to protect the practice and protect the animals in their care?

All disasters really come down to [the fundamental question]: can they stay where they are or will they have to evacuate? So, we encourage all practices to have a plan for both. If you need to shelter in place and stay where you are, plan for having extra supplies on hand if you need to stay where you are for longer than you would normally go without re-supplying; so, that’s on the shelter in place side.

On the evacuation side, it’s really critical to have plans in place for how you would move those animals that are in your care, that are boarding or are patients that are staying with you, to another location; identify that location in advance, work out the transport to get them there, partner with those other veterinary clinics that you might develop a relationship with, that they’re your evacuation location and they’re yours, and do the planning you need to do.

We encourage everybody to look at [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] FEMA’s website, ready.gov, for more planning information that will also help with business continuity planning related to the practice.”