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Ready or Not: Evacuating an Animal Shelter during a Mock Emergency
Anthrozoos (2007)
  • Leslie Irvine, University of Colorado Boulder

This paper reports on a disaster response exercise involving the evacuation of an urban animal shelter. A simulated emergency provided the opportunity to test the shelter’s disaster evacuation capabilities and to illuminate issues that animal stakeholders should address when creating and refining emergency response plans. The participants successfully evacuated all animals from the building in good time, but the exercise highlighted flaws in the standard authority structure used in disaster response, known as the Incident Command System, or ICS. Specifically, the ICS does not easily integrate volunteers who have no training in disaster response but who nevertheless want to help. In situations involving animals, large numbers of well-meaning but untrained people will volunteer, and animal stakeholders should anticipate and manage their arrival. Moreover, the quasi-military assumptions behind the ICS translate poorly to civilian settings. In emergency plans, shelters and other animal stakeholders should simplify and adapt the militaristic terminology of the ICS.

  • Animal sheltering,
  • disasters,
  • evacuation,
  • animal welfare
Publication Date
Citation Information
Leslie Irvine. "Ready or Not: Evacuating an Animal Shelter during a Mock Emergency" Anthrozoos Vol. 20 (2007)
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