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Responding to the Needs of Companion Animals in Natural Disasters: A Local Government Perspective. Dr Ann-Marie Boyd Moreton Bay Regional Council & The Australian Institute of Animal Management. Moreton Bay Regional Council. Combines the Councils of Caboolture, Pine Rivers and Redcliffe

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responding to the needs of companion animals in natural disasters a local government perspective

Responding to the Needs of Companion Animals in Natural Disasters: A Local Government Perspective

Dr Ann-Marie Boyd

Moreton Bay Regional Council &

The Australian Institute of Animal Management

moreton bay regional council
Moreton Bay Regional Council
  • Combines the Councils of Caboolture, Pine Rivers and Redcliffe
  • Covers 2011 sq km, and has a population of 343,553
  • Is a mix of urban, beachside, industrial and rural communities throughout
  • Is home to 65,000 registered dogs
potential natural disasters identified by mbrc council
Potential Natural Disasters Identified by MBRC Council
  • Flooding
  • Severe Storms
  • Storm Tide inundation/surge
  • Major fire/bushfire
  • Cyclone
  • Heatwave
  • Epidemic/Pandemic
  • Exotic animal/pest disease
disaster management arrangements council develops and maintains
Disaster Management Arrangements - Council Develops and Maintains :
  • Event Coordination Centre
  • Standard Operating Procedures and processes for activation of ECC including authorisation for instigating the five levels of activation
disaster management arrangements council develops and maintains7
Disaster Management Arrangements - Council Develops and Maintains :
  • Staff training pursuant to their roles
  • Event communication strategy including roles, responsibilities, hardware and procedures
  • Plans to address operational requirements and processes required to manage an event i.e. plans for evacuation, welfare, transport, health and recovery
disaster management arrangements council develops and maintains8
Disaster Management Arrangements - Council Develops and Maintains :

Threat specific plans to support the arrangements and operations of lead combatant agencies

i.e. Queensland Health – pandemics/Health, Department of Primary industries – Exotic Animal & Plant Diseases

Cooperative and collaborative arrangements with other emergency response agencies e.g. Police and Fire Services

warning systems
Warning Systems
  • Council develops and maintains systems and strategies in order to warn the community prior to, during and post an event and/or to activate the community.
  • Collaboration with the Dept. of Emergency Services, Bureau of Meteorology and other emergency response agencies and the use of the Standard Emergency Warning Signal in assisting the delivery of public warnings and messages for major emergency events.
public education
Public Education
  • Council will develop and maintain a public education program/strategy for the delivery of information to the public with regard to disaster management arrangements and initiatives with the aim to creating a more aware and resilient community.
  • South East Queensland Disaster Management Advisory Group (SEQDMAG)- Council is an active participant in the SEQDMAG regional “Project One Voice” strategy.
public education targets
Public Education Targets
  • Encourage people throughout to prepare themselves and their properties for severe storm and high wind events.
  • Improve safety awareness levels and behaviour during severe storm and high wind events.
  • Ensure people know how to access information and assistances from relevant agencies immediately before, during and immediately after, a severe storm or high wind event.
council s response capability
Council’s Response Capability
  • Trained personnel.
  • Vehicles, plant and equipment.
  • Community halls identified as first line evacuation centres.
  • Other facilities identified as second line evacuation centres.
  • Arrangements are in place with community organisations for the delivery of welfare services.
so what s missing
So What’s Missing?
  • Currently little or no involvement from Council’s animal management areas.
  • Evacuation and emergency centres centres after the 2008 storms were planned with no strategies for dealing with pets that may arrive with families or those that are left behind unattended.
the australian institute of animal management aiam
The Australian Institute of Animal Management (AIAM)

AIAM Draft Position Statement on Disaster Planning in Urban Animal Management:

Supporting document: “Urban animal management in disaster planning” Elke Tapley


Recognition that Animal Management officers need to be involved in Emergency Management Planning because:

  • population evacuations in the face of emergency threats will always involve animals;
  • people will often refuse to leave their pets behind - and that adds a whole extra dimension to planning that is often not given adequate consideration.
The AIAM’s position paper is intended to assist Council animal management officers by providing them with a process for reviewing their links with their council in conjunction with the overall emergency management plans.

This model, which is based on the Australian / New Zealand Standard in Risk Management, has been specially designed for use by councils.

  • Restoring animal owner links in the aftermath of evacuation is an important aspect of social recovery and return to normalcy.
  • Legislation governing animal management throughout Australia prohibits animals being a nuisance, wandering at large or endangering the public.
  • All of these circumstances occur in disaster emergencies and Animal Management Officers are expected to deal with them.
  • The supporting document has a flexible regional/local emphasis that encourages animal management officers to be actively engaged in the emergency and disaster response planning that will probably involve them.
  • It provides a checklist for reviewing the currency of resource availability, inter agency agreements and chain of command protocols that are relevant to animal management staff involvement in the event of an emergency situation.
Animal Management Staff in Local Government Need to Know About and Be Involved With Emergency and Disaster Planning!
  • Pets will be involved in population evacuations and may be separated from their owners.
  • Pets may need extensive, secure and operationally functional holding facilities.
  • Public health and safety issues associated with pets at large may arise.
  • Animal welfare, wildlife and livestock impacts may need attention.
If not managed, the animals themselves can become part of the problem and create public health and safety risks.
  • The panic associated with a disaster or emergency situation is enough to distress and disorientate people – worrying about the whereabouts and welfare of their pets adds an extra stress.
  • Good animal management will assist in minimising the impact of the event.
  • Planning can help protect animal management teams from being expected to work miracles with very short notice and inadequate resources.
Networking with neighbouring municipalities throughout the planning phase,
  • and including them as key stakeholders and allies, can help synchronise any processes and apply consistency.
  • Consulting with local emergency management coordinators can help capture any plans that are in place and being implemented to ensure that the animal management activities are part of the overall response.
where do we start
Where Do We Start?

The following checklist provides a mechanism forreviewing animal management emergency and disaster response plans. It considers issues such as:

  • Determining the type of disaster or emergency which is most likely in any location.
Determining who the key stakeholders are in the area and establishing a committee to ensure that input from each key area is captured.
  • Investigating legislative responsibilities prior to meeting with the committee. Compiling a list of contacts from the commencement of the planning stage.
  • Reviewing local knowledge of the area and the numbers and types of animals in it.
the to do list
The To-do List:
  • Ensure that 24hr contact lists are detailed and current for all key staff in participating organisations who are parties to the agreement.
  • Develop a brochure/information sheet that incorporates pets and livestock into local emergency planning arrangements.
  • Consider entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with shelters, pounds, boarding establishments and livestock carriers in your area.
  • The purpose of an MOU is to define the expectations, terms and conditions of a working relationship between the parties. e.g. SERAMG Council Animal Shelters MOU 2007.
Recognise that there may be emergencies or disasters which will impact on more than one Council and standard operating procedures may not be sufficient to manage the numbers of animals involved.
  • Incorporate into emergency and disaster publications and plans references to animals i.e. where and how pets will be housed and the process for owners to reclaim them.
Specify the different stages and tasks required in the response and recovery phases of an incident and allocating position roles to each. This will assist in selecting and training staff to specific roles.
  • Establish a register or process for recording and identifying animals held by Council officers during an emergency or disaster incident.
local government checklist for emergency animal management preparedness
Local GovernmentChecklist for Emergency Animal Management Preparedness
  • Indicate emergency types to consider
  • List relevant Interagency communication
  • Review public communication
  • Equipment check list – items required & storage location
  • Emergency kit check list
  • Resources for transportation
  • Training for Employees/Volunteers
  • Review contacts
  • Review stakeholders
The AIAM endorsed this position statement at the time of the Darwin AIAM conference in October, 2008.