Request to Florida Veterinarians
By Dr. Mike Short
Florida is continually threatened by natural disasters such as hurricanes and forest fires, by the introduction of foreign and emerging animal diseases, and by potential acts of bioterrorism. These threats affect animal health, public health and safety, and our state and national economies.
In the aftermath of any emergency, veterinarians and veterinary technicians may be needed to assist local, state, and national response teams in meeting the needs of our animals and people. This is why the Florida Veterinary Medical Association, the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have established a volunteer corps of veterinarians and veterinary technicians, who will support response measures in the event of an emergency involving animals and animal health. These professionals would be a part of our State Agriculture Response Team (SART), serving under Emergency Support Function (ESF) 17 and our State Emergency Response Team. Veterinary staff may serve in assessing veterinary response capabilities and provide for emergency animal treatment in the aftermath of a natural disaster or may serve in support of disease surveillance and control efforts in combating devastating diseases affecting Florida's animals.
Although this program is unable to provide salary or benefits to its volunteers, volunteers working in an official capacity would be covered under state liability and workers' compensation programs.
Florida has a very strong veterinary community and this program is intended to provide greater resources to build our animal emergency response capacity. Please consider joining the Florida Veterinary Medical Association, the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in support of this program.
A link to our brochure is provided for your convenience.
We hope that you will give serious consideration to volunteering for this program. A new application form is underway for joining the Florida Veterinary Corps and will be posted on this website soon. In the meantime, you may submit a letter of interest to volunteer and mail to:
Gregory S. Christy,
D.V.M. Division of Animal Industry
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Room 328
Nathan Mayo Building
407 South Calhoun Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0800.