New and Improved NACA Disaster Database

Helping Animals in Disasters via the NACA Disaster Database

When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in August of 2005, animal welfare organizations from across the country responded to help the animals impacted by the storm. Unfortunately, with each organization conducting their own response, there was no coordination amongst the groups. In the aftermath of that storm season, the major animal welfare organizations came together to discuss how a collaborative response would benefit the animals, and the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC) was established in early 2006.

In the years since, this collective of organizations has developed and grown into a strong coalition whose mission is to identify, prioritize and find collaborative solutions to major animal emergency issues. The coalition is the largest collective of experienced, qualified animal rescue and sheltering professionals in the country and the member agencies have responded nationally and internationally to natural disasters such as wildfires, flooding, ice storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and to man-made animal disasters including puppy mills, hoarders and dog fighting and cock fighting.

The National Animal Care and Control Association (NACA) has been a member of NARSC since its inception and, through our involvement, we have opened new lines of communication in an effort to incorporate our members into any NARSC response.

National Animal Care & Control Association Disaster Database

It is not a matter of “if” a disaster will strike, but rather “when” and “where”. When disasters do strike, many of the NARSC organizations are an integral part of the response and they can call upon a cadre of volunteers. However, even these organizations sometimes need assistance, and one of the most valuable resources that is needed in the response is seasoned animal control officers and animal care personnel. As a NARSC member, NACA agreed to maintain a Disaster Database which would include a list of trained individuals who have expressed a desire to respond in the case of a disaster or other major event.

The idea of the Disaster Database is to maintain, in one location, an accessible list of trained individuals who may be called upon to respond to disasters when they occur. When disasters strike, it is imperative that resources be available to local, state, or federal entities that may need assistance. With this database, we will be able to have access to trained personnel and know what special certification, training or experience they possess. The database will also provide us with an idea of what equipment they may be able to provide. The Disaster Database will be accessible by NACA only. Entities with the authority to request personnel or other resources in the event of a declared disaster, generally through an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), will only have access to the Disaster Database information through NACA personnel.

National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition Code of Conduct

The Coalition recognizes that the environment in which we work is complex and unique. Therefore, the members have established the following standards of integrity as well as professional and ethical conduct that we are all expected to maintain. As a member of NARSC, any personnel responding on behalf of NACA shall agree to adhere to this Code of Conduct:

• Comply with all local, state, federal, and tribal laws
• Comply with all safety standards
• Act with integrity
• Comply with coalition mission and standards
• Respect the community and coalition members when dealing with the media
• Respect impacted community’s financial support base
• Treat all partners with dignity and respect
• Respect partner property or equipment
• Comply with NIMS
• Respect member’s information technology policies
• Maintain and provide accurate situation and financial reports

Recent NACA Deployments

When the tornados struck Moore, Oklahoma in 2013, a call came in to NACA looking for officers that could respond and assist during the disaster. Sue Baker from the Plattsmouth Police Department in Nebraska volunteered to assist in the response and she worked with personnel from the American Humane Association in trapping and animal search and rescue.

In one of the largest cockfighting investigations in the history of the U.S., the ASPCA requested assistance from NACA in January of 2014, and an animal control officer from the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter responded to assist.

So How Can You Help?

NACA is looking for Disaster Database applicants. We ask that all applicants read and agree with the intent of the Code of Conduct and that you complete the on-line application, making sure to complete the application in its entirety. Examples of certification and training may include the following or others; ICS/NIMS Certification, swift or slack water, high and low angle rope, boat safety, forklift operator, Animal Control Academies, DART, animal sheltering, large or small animal handling, first aid, CPR, technical animal rescue, shelter management, animal care technician, veterinary license, etc.

Your participation in a disaster response will:

• Give NACA the opportunity to showcase the quality of officers and personnel that are part of our organization;
• Allow you to see how the other organizations function in the time of a disaster;
• Let you learn tips and techniques that you can then take back to your agency;
• And, most importantly, help the animals impacted by the disaster.

We understand that it is costly to respond so we would look to the other NARSC members to help cover any expenses related to the response. In Sue’s case, the travel was sponsored by IFAW, and the ASPCA covered the costs for the cockfighting case, and we sincerely appreciate their generosity.

Your application, if accepted for NACA’s database, will place your name on a list of volunteers. NACA will maintain the database and, when requested by other NARSC members, contact members that meet the necessary specifications of the NARSC member. Interested? Click the link below to fill out and submit an application!