The Companion Animal Disaster Awareness and Preparedness Program Development
Authors: Michael Brand
Dr. Karen Hambright
In fall 2014, the Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia (HSSCG), the Psychology program of the College of Coastal Georgia (CCGA) in coordination with the Center for Service-Learning worked collaboratively to design a program focused on Disaster Awareness and Preparedness among pet owners in Glynn County, Georgia. While disaster preparedness is primarily recognized as an Emergency Management Function, it is also recognized that other organizations can offer a supportive role in carrying out emergency operations planning. In this case, the HSSCG and CCGA Psychology program have acted to engage the community on this issue for the purposes of educating and informing pet owners about disaster awareness and preparedness. Development of this program included the following: 1) the planning theory and design utilized to develop this program is discussed; 2) the analyses of two primary problems associated with pet populations in disaster scenarios—risk factors associated with pet evacuation failure and public health risks presented by abandoned pets in a disaster scenario; 3) program elements are outlined to address each problem in order to mitigate the risks associated with each.