Most people consider their pets as part of their family. Studies show that if forced to choose between leaving their pets to go to a safe place or staying with their pets, almost 40% of people say they will not leave their pets. Additionally, 80% of persons who reentered evacuated areas did so to rescue their pet. The York County Department of Fire and Life Safety Office of Emergency Management has partnered with the Peninsula Medical Reserve Corps to establish the CAST program in response to those significant statistics.
The CAST program provides a collaborative partnership for emergency sheltering of citizens, visitors, and their domestic/companion dogs and cats during large-scale emergencies or disasters. The CAST is a public/private venture organized to meet the needs of animals and their owners before, during and immediately following a large-scale emergency or disaster. CAST members may include animal control officers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians and assistants, animal industry personnel, medical reserve corps, and citizen volunteers.
The goals of the CAST Program include to promote family and pet emergency preparedness at the individual and family levels and assist with the set-up and staffing of short-term pet sheltering (domestic/companion dogs and cats) for the public who have evacuated their place of residence with their pet(s) (dog/cat) in anticipation of, or response to, a large-scale emergency or disaster and to assist with other pet-related needs during a disaster.
CAST Training Program Courses Include
Animal Behavior and Safety
Animal Shelter Set-up/Operations
National Incident Management System Overview
Additionally, specific FEMA and Emergency Management Institute independent study courses may be required.