Using D4H for Animal Disaster Management During the Australian Bushfires

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Robin was recently joined by Steve Glassey from Animal Evac New Zealand to discuss Animal Disaster Management, their specialist equipment, training, preparation, and how they respond to disasters in the region.

Steve Glassey is the Associate Professor at the Emergency Response Innovation Center at Central Queensland University in Australia, he’s also the co-founder and patron of Animal Evac New Zealand.

Animal Evac New Zealand is New Zealand’s only dedicated animal disaster management charity. The purpose of the trust is simple, in times of disaster, they help with evacuations to ensure no animals are left behind and provide animals temporary emergency shelter until traditional animal accommodation can be provided (such as existing animal rehoming groups, fostering, pet-friendly motels, boarding facilities, etc).

Between late 2019 and early 2020, they deployed to the Australian Bushfires where they provided support to local animal welfare agencies and the community. One of their first assignments upon landing in Australia was in the Blue Mountains where they were tasked with searching for and rescuing injured wallabies and kangaroos.

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They also brought over half a tonne of equipment to Australia for deployment. Included was 200 reusable fabric pet carriers to be used as preventative measures to ensure that no pets were left behind. They worked with the local vet practice and wildlife center in Bundanoon to distribute the pet carriers to community members so that they would have the resources they needed to safely evacuate from the bushfires.

Steve kindly offered to show us around Animal Evac NZ’s D4H Incident Management account, which was a great opportunity to see how they’ve configured and customized it to suit their unique requirements. About 40% of their response personnel are not on the ground, so it’s important that they have a cloud-based system that is globally accessible.

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They’ve customized their Situation Report so that the information corresponds with their local incident management standardizations. A team of people can fill out the situation report collaboratively, regardless of their location, with any information added updating in real-time for all users.

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Animal Evac NZ has also configured their status boards to allow them to track all of the relevant information regarding animals caught in a disasters like the Australian Bushfires When entering an animal’s last known location into a status board, this will automatically sync up to the incident map, giving an overview of the situation.

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Similarly, for unconfined animals where humane traps have been put in place, they can track the location of the traps in D4H Incident Management, ensuring no traps are forgotten about or left behind.

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They also use a custom ‘Shelters’ status board to track where local shelters are located, their capacity, and the types of animals they deal with.

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As a charity, Animal Evac NZ also has to be very mindful of costs. They track the costs incurred during an incident response in a custom Logistics Board. This is an extremely valuable tool for sponsors as they can be kept in the loop on running costs throughout a deployment.

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You can watch Robin’s full interview with Steve on our YouTube channel or you can listen back on Bravo Zulu, the D4H Podcast.

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