Disaster Animal Response Team
One of the newest programs offered by the Humane Society of Greater Dayton is our Disaster Animal Response Team (DART). The DART program was developed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to provide assistance to animals in disaster situations, including tornadoes, hazardous-materials incidents, floods and earthquakes. The goal of the program is to teach volunteers how to prepare families and the community to rescue and shelter animals when a crisis happens.
What Can a DART Do?
- Raise community awareness, teach disaster preparedness for families and their pets, provide cohesiveness through regular monthly meetings and offer training opportunities throughout the year
- Educate the public about disaster awareness and preparedness, through appearances at community events and a speakers bureau for civic groups and companies
- Assist local shelters during hoarding, neglect or puppy-mill situations, if extra help is needed (by setting up a temporary shelter – usually established at the receiving shelter – for the animals, until these animals are integrated into the system)
- When asked to deploy, assist at the temporary pet shelter (under the umbrella of the requesting agency, such as the HSUS)
DART Member Levels
The DART program offers three volunteer categories, with additional national opportunities.
These members are notified of meetings and training opportunities. No formal training is needed, but volunteering at an animal shelter is encouraged. These members are not able to deploy, but are able to assist when the shelter needs extra help setting up temporary cages, cleaning, feeding, and doling out TLC to animals coming in from hoarding or neglect situations or puppy mills. This group of volunteers also helps with special events, education and fundraising for the team.
To qualify as team members, volunteers must attend the 20+ hour DART training and work toward the other requirements needed to deploy in the local area. They also help with all of the tasks listed under the auxiliary-member category.
DART training requirements include:
- Completion of DART training (fees associated)
- Completion of the DART volunteer application (filled out on the first night of class)
- Completion of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Incident Command System (ICS) 100 course (free and available online)
- Completion of FEMA ICS 700 course (free and available online)
- 30+ documentable hours of hands-on volunteer experience at the animal shelter of your choice
- Personal photograph
Training opportunities can be found at:
These members have completed all of the above requirements and are able to deploy in the local area, should the team be called upon.
A few of the national animal-welfare agencies have DARTs in place that are able to deploy both nationally and internationally. They each have specific training requirements. DART-trained volunteers can "go to the next level" with these teams, if they so desire.
To learn more about the DART program, contact Mackenzie Phillips at mphillips@hsdayton. You may also reach her by phone, at 937/262-5926.
Please consider donating to the DART program. View our wish list here.
* Photo ©2005 by Alex Chernavsky, "Animal Rescue Following Hurricane Katrina," katrina-animal-rescue.com