Volunteers Rescue Animals in Disaster Simulation

Published on Friday, April 9th, 2010

What would you do to save an animal in disastrous flood or fire conditions?  In a disaster, there is a job for everybody, and volunteers who complete in-field training with Noah’s Wish know exactly what to do.  In an intense, two-day disaster simulation, the California-based animal welfare group will train over 50 people, from veterinarians and animal health students to every day pet lovers, on the Leicester, Mass. campus of Becker College, April 10 and 11.

Volunteers should be prepared to rough it, says Jo Ellen Cimmino, Noah’s Wish director of animal health services, “The training prepares disaster responders to be ready physically, mentally and emotionally. There is no catered lunch, and they don’t go back to a hotel room.”

“Our training is unique, compared to other national training programs. We are simulating a disaster response at the same time volunteers are learning about it. They come self-sufficient, bringing sleeping bags, food, water and camp onsite, similar to a disaster evacuee shelter,” Cimmino said.

Noah’s Wish disaster training is open to any pet lover who wants to be ready to help animals. There may be administrative needs, getting supplies, transportation, setting up shelter, feeding and cleaning. “You don’t have to be a professional in the animal world; just be a team player,” assured Cimmino.

The Becker College Animal Health Club is co-sponsoring the Noah’s Wish training with the Central Massachusetts Disaster Animal Response Team (CMDART).

“Coming to Becker is a perfect fit,” said Cimmino. “We can always use veterinary staff of any type, and vet tech students are always eager to learn, ready to help.” The partnership grew out of Cimmino’s guest lecturer visits to Melissa Supernor’s Clinical Procedures class. Supernor is an instructor in Becker’s animal health programs.

This is the first time Noah’s Wish has returned to Massachusetts since holding a smaller in-field training in 2003.

About Noah’s Wish

Noah’s Wish specializes in animal disaster education, rescue and recovery, not to duplicate existing efforts to help animals during disasters, but to expand on what was already in place.

  • Noah’s Wish is a not-for-profit, animal welfare organization with a singular, straightforward mission – we exist to keep animals alive during disasters. That’s it. Having just one focus, Noah’s Wish is able to direct all our resources towards ending the needless suffering and death of animals when disaster strikes.
  • We have trained and experienced staff and Coordinators. Members of this highly skilled group monitor developing disasters and make up the organization’s first response team.
  • Our volunteers are also trained and experienced. With our ever growing national network of volunteers, we are able to respond to disasters with a team of individuals prepared to provide whatever services are needed to ensure that animals survive.
  • We have created and use over 50 forms in disasters. This is one of the ways we work to raise the standards for how animals are managed.
Photo courtesy of Noah’s Wish.