Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oregon Provides Animal Response Trailers to Counties


A $52,000 Homeland Security grant has given Oregon an opportunity to be better prepared for taking care of livestock in natural disasters.

Four enclosed cargo trailers owned by the Oregon Department of Agriculture are supplied to counties throughout the state as part of a plan to rescue animals facing dangers due to disasters, such as floods.

Each trailer comes with a set of tools to help emergency responders.

"When natural disasters affect pets and livestock, it puts an additional burden on emergency response teams to find a way to take care of those animals," explains Don Hansen, ODA state veterinarian. "We've been working hard with emergency managers in the counties to develop plans that include what to do about companion animals and livestock should disasters strike Oregon."

A key part of the plan is the trailer fleet, designed to carry cages and watering and feeding tools. During a disaster, the trailers can be mobilized to the site and provide a portable corral and other equipment to hold livestock.

"We have pretty much everything you would need to set up a short term animal shelter," says Hansen.

"Having the ability to handle animals during disasters has been a major challenge. These trailers will save uncounted hours in getting needed shelter to a given location during an emergency situation."

Securing the federal grant was a joint effort on the part of ODA and Oregon Emergency Management. It is one of the latest pieces in an overall plan that considers the well-being of livestock in a disaster.

Each Oregon county has developed specific emergency response plans as part of an overall statewide effort led by ODA.

"We've aimed at uniformity around the state, but it would be naïve to think that one plan could be developed to fit every scenario in every county," says Hansen. "Each county has developed its own plan for evacuation to address its own capabilities and limitations."