Back in 2017, the small township of Edgecumbe, New Zealand was struck by flooding caused by a stopbank failure and the entire population of approximately 1,600 people were rapidly evacuated, leaving behind over 1,000 animals. Volunteers from various animal and technical rescue organizations responded to the largest animal rescue in the country’s history and bravely saved most of these animals.
However, the event was hampered by a lack of information management with coordinators managing the response with impromptu spreadsheets, printed maps, and post-it notes; and there was a significant lack of records and logs being kept for post-event reflection. It was identified as one of 90 recommendations in one after action report, that a system that all agencies involved in animal emergency management be developed. A year on, there was still no progress on this important lesson.
In terms of personnel management, the organization recruits volunteers from all over the country to create a national surge capacity of trained animal disaster responders, but the challenge was not finding volunteers, but managing them both administratively and operationally. That is where the D4H suite of products came in.
- Personnel & Equipment Readiness
Animal Evac NZ needed a system that was capable of engaging and tracking over 300 volunteers and with built-in qualification management and SMS communications portal, D4H Personnel & Training was an easy choice to accomplish that.
This is the system they use for tracking training, participation, and qualifications of all personnel. The software is used to ensure that personnel tasked for assignment are always ready to go.
Animal Evac NZ can also ensure their equipment is fully operational and ready to be used at any operation. D4H helps them organizing equipment repairs, expiry dates, service history, weights, values, calibrations, and inspections.
- Emergency Response Effectiveness
The game changer for Animal Evac New Zealand was to introduce D4H Incident Management to have a real-time incident management system that tracked animals, people, tasks, logistics, incidents, situation reports, action plans, briefings and more, in order to be compliant to the national incident management system known as CIMS.
Animal Evac NZ became the second organization in the country to adopt this ground-breaking technology, and it is to be made available to partner organizations to provide a “neutral” database, where all affected animals and related issues can be coordinated and channeled through during an event.
“The system can track and record next to anything, and even during a response, you can add new forms and data collection, so as the incident forces you to adapt, you can also adapt the system just as quick. The good thing about it is that it is very intuitive. I remember using a SharePoint system for response and got confused just looking at the dashboard! You don’t need to be a high-end computer user to start using it which makes it so good for volunteers who may only use it a few times a year. In fact, within two days from getting the login I had a fully customised and functional emergency management information system, no need to waste weeks or months setting it up” says Steve, (Co-Founder, Animal Evac New Zealand Trust.)
With the support of an ESRI non-profit ArcGIS license also, the Trust’s GIS capabilities are further extended beyond the base GIS functionality on D4H Incident Management which already provides powerful mapping outputs. Though hosted in the cloud, tablets, smartphones, and computers effortlessly change to the off-line mode when an internet connection is lost, and it re-synchronizes when back online, providing plenty of redundancy.
“There was no animal emergency registration database, only complicated forms which no one knew where they would go or what is done with them. Now we have D4H Incident Management, we simply create a new form and data is collected real-time, to make real-time decisions. We can enter a search and rescue request for animals left behind for whatever reason, and this also displays on our GIS mapping. We can provide stakeholders with a live link to view situation reports in real time as well. This is a game changer and it means other agencies can use it, so we have a fully integrated approach to benefit not just the animals, but the people who own them too”.
With improved information management for disaster-affected animals, we can improve reunification rates and improve public confidence. We also show we are simply doing the right thing.
- Not just reporting. Re-evaluation
Once an incident has ended, it’s a safe bet that the final protracted stages could involve litigation. Using D4H allows Animal Evac NZ to prepare for this by automatically collecting a complete audit trail of every action, decision, and piece of information.
D4H helps Animal Evac NZ to capture, store, and analyze incident response data in a structured way. It’ll be just like having their own in-house statistician with single-click daily, monthly, and annual reporting, charts, and maps.
This data can also be implemented to re-evaluate organization responses and use this data to advance to the next level.
D4H Personnel & Training: a highly proactive system to easily manage the administration of personnel, qualifications, training, attendance, and availability. It enables Animal Evac NZ performance measurement and allows them to collaboratively engage personnel to reach the highest standard of professionalism.
D4H Equipment Management: a smart equipment and consumable readiness software for easy inventory administration. Animal Evac NZ ensures all of their equipment is ready-to-respond with accurate locations or assignment, proactive inspections, repairs, expiry dates, and service history logs.
D4H Incident Management: a real-time incident management software that enables Animal Evac NZ the coordination of an effective response to any situation. They can easily create a common operating picture of an incident, communicate objectives, and collaborate on a resolution using forms, logs, maps, status boards, and more. The results are; better outcomes, more efficient responses, and less paperwork.
D4H Incident Reporting: powerful software that provides Animal Evac NZ profound insights into their operations. Thanks to this, they can access game-changing data to re-evaluate their responses, make better decisions, save costs, and evidence the real value of the charity.