TUESDAY, APRIL 24
Beth Gammie, Director of Field Services, RedRover
It is essential for the animal welfare community to come together and help government agencies provide temporary emergency animal sheltering for communities evacuating from natural disasters. This is an awareness-level session on what temporary emergency animal sheltering is and how to go about it. The session will include discussion on the different types of emergency shelters, how to set one up and supply and staff it, daily operations, how to maximize reunification of animals with their people, communications and demobilization.
- What is temporary emergency animal sheltering, and why is it crucial in natural disasters? Studies show that up to 40% of people will not evacuate in natural disasters if they are not able to bring their pets with them. This leads to untold human and animal suffering and loss of life. Temporary emergency animal shelters provide sheltering for animals evacuated or rescued from natural disasters, and there are three different types: 1) Co-habitated: people living side-by-side with their animals; 2) Co-located: people and animals living under the same roof, but in separate living areas and 3) Stand-alone temporary shelter: only shelters animals (often nearby a Red Cross or other human shelter). We’ll discuss the pros and cons of the different shelter types.
- How to set up, supply and staff a temporary emergency animal shelter: we’ll cover issues such as how to select a sheltering site, basics on laying it out (the sections that are needed) and how to go about getting the supplies and staffing needed to run it. We’ll also cover the basics of operations, from intake to reunification.
- Reunification of animals with their people should be the North Star, guiding all your sheltering decisions. In the chaos and stress of disaster, it is easy to put reunification on the back burner. However, unless reunification is a focus for the emergency shelter from the beginning, many people and animals from the disaster will never be reunited. This is of course a tragedy for the animals, who lose their family. It is also tragic and extremely painful for people, who may have lost everything in the disaster. There are decision points all along the way: selecting a shelter site, the type of shelter, best practices on intake and communications that can facilitate reunification. We’ll discuss all of these, as well as lessons learned on reunification.
Beth Gammie is the Director of Field Services for RedRover, an American animal welfare organization headquartered in Sacramento, California. In this role, Beth leads the RedRover Responders Program, which provides emergency animal sheltering in natural disasters and large-scale cruelty seizures throughout the United States and Canada. Prior to this position, she was a volunteer with RedRover and other animal welfare groups. Beth lives in Tallahassee, Florida and is staff to her 4 cats.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24
Carrie Fritz, Executive Director, Calgary Humane Society
Jill Gibson, Investigator, Calgary Humane Society
Sage Pullen McIntosh, General Manager of Community Relations, Calgary Humane Society
With the seemingly growing number of natural disasters affecting heavily-populated areas, it isn’t a matter of "if" there will be another emergency situation, it is a matter of "when". In light of the floods and wildfires that have impacted Alberta in the past several years, many animal welfare organizations have started the process of preparing for a large-scale emergency response in their area.
Now that we have learned how to build relationships with multiple levels of government and interested stakeholders and the importance of working as a team, Calgary Humane Society will share its experience during several recent disasters and will provide key takeaways for animal welfare organizations so they can be better prepared to provide an appropriate animal response when disaster strikes.
Based on our experience with the Slave Lake fire in 2011, the Calgary/High River Flood in 2013, and the Fort McMurray Wildfires in 2016, Calgary Humane Society will lead an interactive discussion on how they were able to offer support to affected areas during these times of crisis, with a specific focus on communication strategies, internal operations and logistical support for teams on the ground.
- What you need to prepare as an animal welfare organization in order to be responsive and be able to offer the necessary support to save animal lives. We will examine this from both an internal perspective (dealing with emergency situations within a shelter environment, such as disease outbreak, mass intake, etc.) and from an external perspective (dealing with natural disasters, such as fire and flood).
- What crisis communication strategies need to be employed to ensure key stakeholders receive consistent and effective communication to avoid potential confusion and misinformation.
- What does this support look like: from providing people, equipment, supplies and other resources to actual "boots on the ground" support. We will discuss the challenges faced and the improvements that have been made to increase effectiveness of this effort.
Carrie Fritz is the Executive Director of Calgary Humane Society and is a CGA-CPA, who attended the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University, obtaining her accounting designation in 1996. Since taking on the role of Executive Director, Carrie has focused on building a professional, highly-skilled team in order to further all aspects of animal welfare, inspiring the community to take on the challenges of animal welfare and teach them to be responsible pet owners. Carrie currently lives just south of Calgary, where she shares her home with her daughter, her three dogs and two rescue rabbits.
Jillian Gibson, a graduate of Lethbridge College's Criminology program, joined Calgary Humane Society's Protection and Investigations department in 2011. Since then, she has investigated thousands of animal cruelty files, most notably the high profile Willow Park muzzling (Camardi) case and the Riverfront Aquariums case, both of which, upon conviction, were given record-setting sentences.
Sage Pullen McIntosh joined Calgary Humane Society in February 2015. Previously, Sage spent 16 years working in both radio and television news as a reporter, anchor and producer. Sage holds her Master of Arts in Professional Communication through Royal Roads University in Victoria and has a passion for crisis communications and media relations. When not at work, Sage can be found camping with her family, walking her giant English Mastiff (Thor) or at the soccer field, dojo or gym with at least one of her very active kids.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24
Dr. Dave Bjolin, Veterinarian, Canada Task Force 2/Olds College
Bonnie Lewin, Business Continuity & Recovery Planner - ESS Planner, The City of Calgary
The Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) is a coordinating body that collaborates with more than 60 Agency members to prepare for, and respond to, emergencies and disasters. CEMA manages Canada Task Force 2 (CAN-TF2), which is one of five national all-hazard disaster response teams, as well as Calgary’s Emergency Social Services (ESS) program. CAN-TF2 and ESS will discuss the importance of building relationships with partners (internal, external and governmental) and the importance of working as a team when a disaster or emergency strikes.
- See how your organization fits within the emergency management system during a response.
- Some challenges and opportunities when developing your emergency response plans.
- How to work with multiple levels of government when disaster hits.
Dr. Dave Bjolin graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1994 and has worked as a veterinarian on Vancouver Island and in Calgary. Dave has been a faculty member at Olds College since 2007. He volunteers with Alberta Spay and Neuter Task Force, including a recent involvement as part of the response to the Fort McMurray Wildfires. Dave joined Canada Task Force 2, Alberta’s Disaster Response Team, in 2016 and works with the Canine as well as Search teams.
Bonnie Lewin is a Registered Social Worker in Alberta and the Emergency Social Services (ESS) Planner for The City of Calgary. She has been involved in emergency planning for more than ten years and participated in five ESS activations, including the 2013 Alberta South Floods. Bonnie incorporates citizen, internal and external partner perspectives in the ESS plan to ensure the impacted individuals' needs are met in a safe and welcoming environment. Her social work background enhances the delivery of services as she focuses on building citizen and staff capacity to recover from a disaster or emergency. Bonnie meets with her ESS colleagues from other Alberta municipalities regularly to assist in creating best practices for the delivery of ESS in Alberta. She has delivered presentations to Emergency Management personnel in British Columbia and Alberta.