September 24, 2018

How Can Veterinarians Get Involved in Disaster Relief Work?

Christa Gallagher, DVM, CCRP, MPH, DACVPM, assistant professor of veterinary public health and epidemiology at the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, discusses the best way for veterinarians to get involved in disaster relief work in their area.

Christa Gallagher, DVM, CCRP, MPH, DACVPM, assistant professor of veterinary public health and epidemiology at the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, discusses the best way for veterinarians to get involved in disaster relief work in their area.

“The way for veterinarians to get involved, I think the best way, is for them to reach out to their—every state has basically a veterinary response organization so reaching out and seeing what that what that organization is and how they can become a part of that. Normally there is a training and is and how they can become a part of that. Normally there is a training and part of the preparation is that they know the structural organization of a response under the incident command system. So there's some training involved just to just to know that system and how it functions, it's really appropriate.

You know veterinarians are absolutely very, very busy professionals, there's no doubt about that. I was in private practice for 25 years, about 20 of those years I owned my own animal hospital, so I fully understand the time issue. But the nice thing about disaster management you can do sort of as little or as much as you can. It really is a nice opportunity to step outside the practice arena and do something different, you know give back in a different way.

I really feel and I tell a lot of vets that it really rejuvenates you because you're doing something different but normally it's some online training with the FEMA incident command courses, so those are just self-modulated courses and I believe most states are recommending that vets get credentialed using that. And then there's usually just you know trainings that will happen normally on weekends with those state organizations, so you know it's usually gradually over time a vet can become credentialed and be fully ready to sort of respond to an emergency if needed.”

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