Preparing for Disaster: Building Resilient Shelters and Communities

Erika Longman, Sheltering and Disaster Response Consultant
Dr. Susan Raymond, PhD, Equine Guelph, University of Guelph
Dr. Cathy Furness, DVM, DACVIM, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Is Canada’s animal welfare community ready for a disaster? What do we really need to prepare for? How would a disaster impact your agency? Who will help you? Who will ask you for help?

We begin with a presentation that will explore these questions, encouraging participants to consider them through a local lens. Following that, we will transition into a panel discussion where participants will discover what roles animal welfare agencies can expect to play within established Emergency Response Plans and beyond. 

Key Learnings:
1. A working understanding of how Emergency Management is structured in Canada and the importance of clarifying your agency’s role NOW
2. Insight into which events pose the biggest risk to your community and an appreciation of what needs these events will create
3. Plenty of resources to help them begin to improve their agency’s level of preparedness immediately, as well as strategies to keep moving forward on an ongoing basis


Erika Longman
As a Sheltering and Disaster Response Consultant, Erika brings nearly a decade of training and field experience to the table. Having deployed with several agencies across North America, she has gained valuable insight and knowledge on how best to prepare for and respond to both natural and man-made disasters. 

Dr. Susan Raymond, PhD
Since 2003, Susan has been involved in the development and delivery, both online and in person, of educational and skills training programs. The focus of these programs is to improve welfare and safety of both animals and people on the farm during day-to-day activities and emergency situations. Susan has completed Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Operations and Rescue Ropes/Rigging courses. She has also completed Colorado State University's Equine Investigations Academy, Level 1.

Dr. Cathy Furness, DVM, MSc, DACVIM
Cathy is the Lead Veterinarian for Planning and Preparedness in the Animal Health and Welfare Branch, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Her role is to help Ontario’s agriculture sector to plan and prepare for animal health emergencies. Cathy has been involved in disaster awareness and preparedness since 2008 and has worked with national, provincial and municipal organizations to promote disaster readiness. She has completed the Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Operations level, Mental Health First Aid for Agricultural Responders, as well as Incident Management System 100 through 300. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Large Animal Specialty) and has a special interest in critical care, neonatology and respiratory medicine. Cathy lives on a hobby farm in Rockwood, Ontario, which she shares with her husband, three children and a menagerie of animals, including cats, chickens, bees, Dexter the Pug and Honey the horse.