Job description of a basic volunteer

The following jobs can be done by a volunteer with the minimum required training. Attendance at the CART orientation training or other training may be needed. If you can attend this training prior to a disaster, that will save a great deal of training time for you at the disaster scene, allow the person who would need to train you to get back to their own tasks and allow you to be more effective much faster.

Before a disaster strikes:

People are needed for information gathering so that we may be better prepared to respond to an incident. This includes:

  • Finding locations where multiple animals can be housed separately. It is preferred that pets are housed in a temporary shelter near the Red Cross shelters. Livestock will need large fields or barns. Multiple locations throughout each county are needed in case one or more areas are damaged or inaccessible. No special training is needed, but knowledge of the county area you choose to help is a plus.
  • Establish written agreements using the established Memorandum of Understanding form. This can include agreements for the use of property, supplies, food for various animals, etc. If we know we can count on businesses and individuals to provide certain things when a disaster strikes, we can have a better understanding of what we have available for use. This will help businesses and individuals donate exactly what is needed, when it is needed and lessen the amount of unsolicited/unneeded donation of goods (which takes extra personnel to sort, catalog, repackage, etc.) No special training is needed but knowledge of the County area you choose to help and businesses/residents is a plus.
  • Establish a resource list to keep track of all the items and property we have available to us. This would include the item, quantity, category, where it is located, contact information for the owner, etc. This list can be utilized during the disaster to find needed supplies quickly and efficiently. The people gathering the information would give it to this person for data entry. No special training is needed, but knowledge of the Excel computer program is a plus.
  • Establish written agreements with county veterinarians (and those in surrounding counties) to either respond to the disaster to offer their services, or to allow CART members to transport animals to them for treatment. In Ohio, this will be handled through OVER. No special training is needed, but knowledge of the county area veterinarians is a plus.
  • Create a database of locations that have multiple animals that might need help if an evacuation was ordered. By knowing where these locations are, CART can send help if the location is within an evacuation zone. For example: If we know in advance that they will need X number of horse trailers, we can make arrangements to get those in advance and be ready to assist much faster. No special training is needed for this, but knowledge of the county area is a plus, esp. the farms and animal shelters/rescues.
  • Develop an easy to read map of the county in black and white. There will need to be many copies (100? 200?) of these maps available at the start of an emergency. They can be used to mark road closures, quarantine areas, restricted areas, safe routes to hospitals and evacuation zones, locations of multiple animal facilities, for animal rescue to keep track of where they have searched, etc. No special training is needed for this, but knowledge of the county area is a plus. Established maps can be used if permission of the owner is granted for copies.
  • Educate the public about how they can be better prepared. This can be done through the distribution of printed flyers and brochures, articles in publications, speaking to groups (church groups, scout groups, schools, civic groups, etc.) and booths at various events. Finding groups that want the information/presentations helps too! No special training is needed for the distribution of printed material, but knowledge of the basics of preparing for a disaster with animals would be needed for face to face presentations.

Once disaster strikes:

Everyone responding to a disaster in Ohio will likely be directed through a Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) for assignment. This will be true of everyone, even if you are responding at the request of a particular group. The VRC will be a checkpoint for the verification of credentials/identification and will be a means of educating volunteers about the particulars of the incident.

For walk-in volunteers without credentials from a specific organization, some training will likely take place regarding the NIMS (National Incident Management System) which is also an on-line self study course through FEMA (IS-700.) The VRC will be a way to assess the training level of the volunteer so as to assign them where they are needed the most.

By getting registered through the Indiana volunteer registration process (quick, free, on-line program) you will get through the VRC much faster for Indiana incidents. Registering through will help speed the process for Ohio incidents. If you carry proof of your IS-700 course completion, you can get through even faster. If you are established with a specific organization you wish to help (CERT, CART, Red Cross) and have their identification, the process may be faster as well.

CART volunteer jobs needed on-scene at the emergency shelter:

  • Set-up of a temporary shelter that is safe, user friendly and efficient will be the first priority. The rescue of animals will need to wait until we have a place to put them! The faster we can get this established, the faster we can help the county residents and animals. Getting the shelter set-up will take some training that is covered in the CART orientation. Set up includes:
    • A safe area for all types of species. Dogs, cats, birds, pocket pets, reptiles, livestock, exotics and wild animals all need to be kept separate. Injured and ill animals also need their own space. Indoor is preferred, but may not be available based on the particular location. Knowing the location in advance will help with the pre-design of the shelter layout. This requires knowledge of proper temporary housing for various types of animals (covered in the AHA course) and the ability to follow a diagram or written plan. Will include teamwork, a lot of physical movement and may also include heavy lifting.
    • A reception area needs to be established as a check-point for all people and animals that come into the temporary shelter. This will include tables, chairs, forms, office supplies and signage that is currently prepared and stored in a bin and will be provided. It has to be located in a way that mandates that everyone passes through this point when entering and leaving the temporary shelter. This is for the safety and security of the animals, to facilitate record keeping and to prevent the theft of animals. This job requires knowledge of the proper set-up of a reception center (provided in the AHA course or through a VRC course), the ability to move tables and chairs, to hang signs, and possibly set-up fencing.
    • A dog walking area needs to be established, fenced off and properly identified with signs. Waste cans need to be set-up in this area with spare trash bags in the bottom of each can (under the bag currently in use.) This requires knowledge of how to properly set-up an emergency shelter (regarding sanitary distances/run-off, etc. of the waste area) which is provided in the AHA course. Will include teamwork, lots of physical movement and may include heavy lifting (fencing, empty 55 gal barrels, etc.)
    • Establish and secure an area for supplies and donated goods. This will need to be secured indoors, in a locked trailer or in a tent located inside a secure area. This requires knowledge of how to properly set-up a temporary shelter (provided in the AHA course) so that the supply area is located in an efficient location relative to the rest of the facility.
    • Establish a flow of paperwork so that the tracking of animals and volunteers can be efficient and easy to maintain. Forms are ready to go and will be provided. This includes paperwork data entry and familiarity of all the common CART forms. Will need knowledge of which areas of the shelter need which forms (provided in the CART shelter class.)
    • Set-up a first-aid station for minor injuries to volunteers. Requires knowledge of proper shelter set-up (provided in the AHA course) so that the first aid station is placed in an efficient location and stocked with the needed supplies.
    • Establish a cleaning area for crates, food bowls, equipment, etc. Also, if needed, a decontamination area for animals. This will need water, proper drainage/run off containment, clean-up supplies, rubber gloves/masks and possibly decontamination supplies. Requires knowledge of proper shelter set-up (provided in the AHA class) so that the clean-up station is placed in an efficient location and stocked with the needed supplies.
    • Phone call center needs to be established. Preferably on-site if possible. This will be used as a means for the public to check for their pets, to get questions answered, for message relay, to educate callers regarding donation needs, tracking down contracted donations, etc. Requires steady personality, clear speech, ability to read a script, clear handwriting for phone messages. Previous experience in customer service is a plus. Knowledge of call center operations will be touched on in the CART orientation and covered more in-depth in a special class session.
    • Transportation/drivers will be needed. This may include moving people, animals or supplies. Requires current valid drivers license and a vehicle in good working order. If a truck can be provided, that is preferred but not required. Knowledge of the County area is a plus.

Temp shelter set-up at the fairgrounds by MO Humane Society during flooding that affected the shelter and caused it's evacuation of all the animals by boat.

Once the shelter is established:

Once the shelter is ready to accept animals, there will be on-going jobs that need to be done involving all levels of training. If the incident lasts more than 8 hours (this is likely if we are activated), there will need to be a rotation of volunteers on a regular basis to ensure that volunteers do not overwork themselves.

  • Record keeping will be a big part of the emergency operation. Keeping track of:
    • Volunteers (sign-in, sign-out, hours worked, equipment assigned, breaks, setting up shifts that match the volunteers availability, etc.) ALL volunteers will have this responsibility and need to be familiar with the forms and procedures introduced at the AHA class.
    • Animals (intake, release, feeding, exercise, medical care, location (if transported), etc. This will be started by the trained rescue task force members, and continued by the reception center/intake volunteers and the general animal care team members. These volunteers need to be familiar with the forms that relate to their jobs. These forms will be covered in the CART shelter class. The ability to print quickly and legibly is a big plus.
    • Supplies and expenses. If items are used, it needs to be logged. If costs are incurred, it needs to be logged. These forms will be placed in strategic locations such as the supply area. ALL volunteers should be familiar with the supply use and expense recording forms in case they need to remove items from the supply area or purchase pre-approved supplies. These forms will be explained in the CART shelter class.
    • Trained Rescue team search locations/patterns. Once a search team has covered a particular area, this will need to be noted on a central tracking map so that teams are not duplicating efforts. This will also help ensure that all areas are covered in an efficient manner. A rescue team leader will be assigned to keep track of the team members that are working in the field to ensure that all check-in if possible and that all return at the end of the day. This job will be assigned to a trained volunteer which may be a team leader who will need special training in team management, radio protocol, mapping, etc. provided in CART special classes.
  • Escorts will be needed to escort members of the public looking for their pets/animals within the temp shelter. Prior to entry into the shelter area, the person will need to give a detailed description of their animal to help narrow the search of the shelter. This will require good people skills and the ability to enforce the rules of the shelter area. The job of the escort will be explained in more detail during the CART shelter class.
  • Evaluation person(s) will be needed at the CART reception center to assess the skills of walk-in volunteers based on what is entered on their paperwork and through interviews, then assign people to the tasks they are most suited to perform in the areas of the shelter most needing help. This will be a trained volunteer position and requires extensive knowledge of all aspects of the shelter operations (covered in the AHA two-day training course), knowledge of radio protocol (provided in a CART special class), the ability to self-manage and good people skills.
  • Animal intake. This will include the assessment of new arrivals, vet check, release from crates in a secure area (for dogs) for a potty break, assignment of identification for the animal, paperwork for tracking purposes, possible decontamination, assignment and transport to safe, temporary living quarters, notification of shelter staff for the animals continued care until release. This will be a trained volunteer position. It will require knowledge of the animals assigned to handle (a volunteer will never be expected to handle any animals he/she is not experienced and comfortable handling.) It will also require knowledge of the shelter operations, paperwork, teamwork, decontamination procedures and more.
  • Animal Rescue. These team members will need the most training so that they can rescue animals within the disaster zone in a manner that is safe for both the rescuer and the animals. This will be a highly trained volunteer position and require training in animal handling, hazardous situation/materials recognition, animal trapping, etc. A two-day training course, FEMA courses and special classes are required.
  • Food procurement. If Red Cross or other services are not close to the shelter or delivering food/water to the shelter, a volunteer will need to be assigned to get food for the CART volunteers. This needs no training, but does require transportation in good working order and a valid drivers license.

If you feel you would be willing and able to help with any of the tasks above, or if you are willing to get the training you need to perform these tasks, PLEASE let us know BEFORE a disaster strikes!

You can do this by Becoming a Team Member

If you have supplies, information or a location that could help the Tri-State CART teams, or if you know you would need help in the event of a disaster or evacuation, please contact Tri-State CART.

Copyright 2014 Tri-State CART County Animal Response Team