NEWS/ ANIMALS — Kamloops has been without an emergency animal rescue team since the 2003 firestorm but that’s about to change.
A training day on Sunday, June 22 will prepare volunteers for a response team working under the Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team (CDART).
Deborah Silk, CDART coordinator and a director of the animal rescue group Critteraid, said the course will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the City’s old public works offices at 800 Mission Flats Road.
“This is the basic Introduction to Emergency Pet Services Course that will train volunteers to respond during local disasters and emergencies,” said Silk.
During the wildfires of 2003, the B.C. SPCA and Noah’s Wish helped rescue and care for animals belonging to evacuees from the Barriere, McLure and Strawberry Hill fires.
After the firestorm, a Canadian group was formed that would be more compatible with other emergency responders, said Silk.
Now, the City’s Emergency Support Services has asked CDART to establish a local team.
The one-day course will train participants in disaster animal response, how to help an evacuee’s animals, describe debriefing and compassion fatigue, build animals enclosures and other skills involved in dealing with the needs of animals in an emergency.
The local team will be formed in July.
Silk said CDART volunteers have a lot of emergency response experience in Okanagan communities ranging from safe evacation to safe sheltering of animals as well as evacuating animals in hoarding situations.
“From single family house fires to apartment fires and interface fires, CDART volunteers provide a welcome service to the families that require additional help during very stressful times,” said Silk.
She asked that participants pre-register for the course by submitting registration forms by mail. CDART hopes to train 30 new volunteers in the June 22 course. Cost of the course is $35 and participants are asked to bring a lunch and any snacks they require.