Vol. 1, No. 4, October 2005

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Corner Store Conversations

The focus of many for the past weeks has been Hurricane Katrina and the devastation she created when striking coastal Mississippi and Louisiana communities. Our thoughts go out to those who have family or friends affected by this tragic event. Nine of our SART members were mobilized to assist in Mississippi as part of the response and recovery efforts; a brief report of their experience is highlighted in our first story this month -- Florida SART Travels to Mississippi to Assist in Katrina Recovery.

October's Tip of the Month provides direction for locating human and furry family members displaced by the storm.

Special thanks is extended to all who have helped during this time of need through SART, churches or other human-need organizations. A thank you also goes to those who have volunteered to help, even if you were turned down; your willingness to help is appreciated.


Florida SART Travels to Mississippi to Assist in Katrina Recovery

After impacting the lower Florida peninsula with Category 1 winds and over 20 inches of rainfall on Monday, August 26th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina moved into the Gulf of Mexico and began its track towards a second landfall more destructive than the first. Katrina charged ashore as a strong Category 4 storm creating catastrophic damage in Mississippi and Louisiana. Mississippi's State Veterinarian, Dr. James Watson, officially requested assistance from Florida's State Agricultural Response Team (SART) to help organize the Mississippi Board of Animal Health's (MBAH) ESF-17 response one week after Katrina's landfall.

A nine-person SART Incident Management Team (IMT) of Florida SART members representing several agencies was activated. Members included:

  • Greg Christy (FDACS), Area Commander
  • David A. Perry (FDACS), Incident Commander
  • Gary L. Painter(FDACS), Deputy Incident Commander
  • Phil Anderson (FDACS), Logistics Section Chief
  • Dr. E. Hank Doten (FDACS), Safety Officer and Technical Specialist
  • Martha L. Wagaman (USDA APHIS VS), Planning Section Chief
  • Tom Ackerman (USDA-OIG), Security Unit Leader
  • Bill Armstrong (FACA), Companion Animal Issues Branch Director
  • Brantley Ivey (UF-IFAS Extension), Animal Feed Procurement, Staging, and Distribution Branch Director

By September 4th, the SART IMT gathered at the Logistical Staging Area (LSA) located at the North Florida State Fairgrounds in Tallahassee for tetanus vaccinations and a briefing from Florida's State Veterinarian, Dr. Tom Holt, and Bureau Chief of Animal Disease Control, Dr. Bill Jeter.

On Monday, September 5th, a two-person "recon" team headed to an area south of Jackson. Mississippi to select an appropriate ESF-17 Incident Command Post (ICP). On Tuesday, the SART IMT traveled to Hattiesburg and established the ICP. Feed and Hay Receiving and Staging, Veterinary Treatment, as well as Large and Companion Animal Housing Facilities were established. Since members of the Humane Society of the United States and two federalized Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams were already operating in the impacted area, the SART IMT established command and control over the organizational structure to ensure mission consistency with a unified chain of command.

Thirty-eight assessment personnel from within Mississippi, representing USDA APHIS Wildlife Services and Veterinary Services, VMAT, MBAH, and Mississippi State University Extension Services were checked in at the ICP, photographed, and provided with ID credentials and official ESF-17 vehicle placards. The assessment teams conducted damage and needs assessments in the six "dairy belt" counties and then moved south into the heavily damaged counties of Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson. On the first evening of field operations, 83% of the 144 assessments indicated damage to livestock industry facilities.

Over the next several days, remote ESF-17 Animal Compounds were established in Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties. Emergency veterinary care operations, companion animal sheltering, and feed distribution were provided at these sites. Displaced animals were transported to the Hattiesburg ICP for long-term care and sheltering. By Tuesday, September 13th, the number of rescued companion animals processed and sheltered at the Forrest County MPC shelter in Hattiesburg approached 1000. Transition of ESF-17 management at the ICP from Florida SART personnel to MBAH personnel began on Sunday, September 11th; SART members assumed deputy roles to provide assistance and advisement to the new managing team. The SART IMT packed their equipment and demobilized on September 14th after decontaminating the vehicles. The team returned to Tallahassee for debriefing and much needed rest.

Florida State Agricultural Response Team agencies participating in the response efforts in Mississippi included:

  • Florida Animal Control Association
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension
  • Humane Society of the United States
  • Disaster Animal Response Teams
  • Emergency Animal Rescue Service
  • Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  • USDA APHIS Veterinary Services
  • USDA Office of Inspector General

Additionally, the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine provided care and shelter for displaced animals and the Florida Cattlemen's Association provided livestock products and hay to impacted Mississippi cattlemen.

-- Greg Christy



SART to Receive Support from VETS

When Hurricane Charley, the first major hurricane of 2004, struck Florida in August, it did not take long for the "animal stories" to surface. Injured, missing and displaced pets became a concern not just for affected pet owners, but also for organizations attempting to reunite lost animals with their owners and administer needed veterinary care to them. The state veterinarian's office, administratively a part of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, dispatched several teams from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine (UF-CVM) to south Florida and other parts of the state last year when it became clear how valuable the services of coordinated veterinary teams, such as those sponsored by UF, really were.

In the aftermath of last year's storms, UF-CVM Dean Joseph DiPietro reached out to the state veterinarian's office for assistance and support. State veterinarians came to UF to provide incident command and planning training to those who had expressed interest in becoming involved. The college has formed a team consisting of John Haven, team leader; Dr. Michael Porter, large animal section leader; and Dr. Cynda Crawford, small animal section leader, to become an official part of the State Agricultural Response Team (SART).

This team of UF-CVM individuals, called the Veterinary Emergency Treatment Service (VETS), is a component of SART that can be called upon to set up an incident command post close to an impacted area in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane to administer veterinary care to affected animals.

"Our initial responsibility, as part of the SART operations group, will be to assist in assessing the impact on the local veterinary practices," Haven said. "If we decide after the immediate assessment that it's necessary, we will set up a mobile small animal hospital that will provide immediate care and triage to animal patients as well as care to large animals."

Haven said the VETS team will work with the Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA) and the Florida Association of Equine Practitioners (FAEP) to make veterinarians aware of what the team could offer them after a disaster and how best to ensure two-way communication between VETS and practitioners both during and after a catastrophic event.

-- Sarah Carey, Director of Public Relations, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and John Haven, VETS Team Leader, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine


Disaster Workshops at the 2005 FVMA Annual Meeting

On September 10, 2005, a series of disaster workshops were held for attendees of the 2005 FVMA Annual Meeting. SART was represented by members Dr. Thomas Holt, Director of the FDACS Division of Animal Industry, and Elizabeth Wang, UF-IFAS. Other speakers included Dr. Lisa Conti, Florida Department of Health Public Health Veterinarian, and Dr. Welch Agnew, Assistant Director of Pinellas County Animal Services. Approximately 30 people attended each session and participated in constructive discussion. Thanks to all who attended!!

Presentation topics were:

  • When You Hear Hoofbeats, Don't Let the Zebras Run Over You -- Dr. Lisa Conti
  • State Emergency Operations Center and Animal Response -- Dr. Thomas Holt
  • Your Role in the State Agricultural Response Team -- Elizabeth Wang
  • State Emergency Field Coordination for Animal and Agricultural Issues -- Dr. Thomas Holt
  • Community Disaster Planning: Development of Your Disaster Response Plan -- Elizabeth Wang
  • Pets & Disasters: Personal Planning -- Dr. Welch Agnew

The slide presentations used in these workshops have been posted on the SART Web site. Click on the follow link to go directly to the page:



First East Coast TsunamiReady Community Recognized

In early July, the National Weather Service recognized central Florida's Indian Harbour Beach as the first community on the east coast of the United States to become TsunamiReady. TsunamiReady is a voluntary, community-based program that stems from the National Weather Service's StormReady initiative. Both programs foster a well-designed emergency response plan on a community-by-community basis. As of August 1, there were 22 TsunamiReady communities across six states. For more information about the TsunamiReady program, see the November 2004 (pp. 11-12) and July 2005 (pp. 5-6) issues of the Natural Hazards Observer or visit <http://www.tsunamiready.noaa.gov/>.

-- As reported in Natural Hazards Observer, September 2005, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado, Boulder


Seven New Hurricane Buoys Deployed

In June, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) launched six new weather data buoy stations designed to enhance hurricane monitoring and forecasting. The buoys have been deployed in key locations in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean. A seventh buoy re-established a former station off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. Following last year's active hurricane season, the NDBC received $1.8 million in supplemental funding from Congress for the new buoy stations.

Wind, wave, barometric pressure, and temperature data from the new stations will help the NOAA Tropical Prediction Center more accurately determine formation or dissipation, extent of wind circulation, maximum intensity, and center location of the tropical cyclones. In addition, direction, height, and distribution of ocean waves generated by hurricane activity will be measured. Beyond their measurements of tropical cyclones, the buoys are also expected to provide year-round data for analysis and forecasts of other marine disturbances. Data from the buoys will also be used to validate the quality of measurements and estimates obtained from remote-sensing reconnaissance aircraft and satellites and National Weather Service forecasts.

For more information, visit <http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2005/s2458.htm>. Access data from the new buoys (stations 42039, 42055, 42056, 42057, 42058, 41040, and 41041) at the NDBC's Web site at <http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/>.

-- As reported in Natural Hazards Observer, September 2005, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado, Boulder


2005 ISDR International Day for Disaster Reduction

This year, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) will celebrate the ISDR International Day for Disaster Reduction on October 12, 2005. Using microfinance and safety nets to increase disaster resilience is the primary theme of the 2005 campaign. The objective is twofold: to sensitize the social and financial communities and institutions on their potential role in reducing disaster risk and to raise awareness in the disaster and risk management community of the utility of existing financial tools and safety nets to reduce the vulnerability of hazard-prone populations. Find out more from the ISDR Web site at: <http://www.unisdr.org/eng/public_aware/world_camp/2005/2005-press-kit.htm>.

-- As reported in Disaster Research, 437, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado, Boulder


Tractor Safety for Disaster Recovery Brochure Available

A new brochure has been produced by the University of Florida IFAS Extension Service. It is a trifold brochure focusing on key safety tips for situations that are likely to occur during disaster recovery operations. Some topics covered include:

  • Side and rear overturns
  • By-pass starting
  • PTO entanglements
  • Road travel
  • And more

The brochure can be accessed on the Florida Ag Safe Web site at: <http://www.flagsafe.ufl.edu>. The brochure link is directly beneath the banner on the home page.


National Fire Prevention Week, October 9-15, 2005

In an effort to battle home fires before they start, Florida is taking a lead role in the national Fire Prevention Association's (NFPA) Fire Prevention Week, October 9-15, 2005.

NFPA selected the 2005 Fire Prevention Week theme in order to highlight a growing home fire concern. The theme, "Use Candles with Care: When you go out, blow out!" is a memorable and effective safety message. Home candle fires have risen steadily over the last decade.

In addition to using candles safely, Floridians are urged to ensure that smoke alarms are installed on every level of the home and kept working with monthly testing and annual battery replacement.

All smoke alarms should be replaced with a new unit after ten years. Each member of the household needs to know the fire escape plan, and all should practice it twice a year. Floridians can learn more about candle safety and all forms of fire prevention by visiting NFPA's official Fire Prevention Week Web site at: <http://firepreventionweek.org>.

--From the Florida Division of Emergency Management Web page: <http://www.floridadisaster.org>.

** Look for more on fire prevention and safety in November's Sentinel!! **


Training Media Spotlight -- Introducing Florida Aquaculture

Florida's aquaculture industry is diverse, including freshwater tropical fish, shrimp and live rock, among other products. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, aquaculture makes a $100 million contribution annually to the state agriculture receipts.* To better understand this industry, Introducing Florida Aquaculture was developed to provide an overview of the industry's characteristics.

After taking this training course, participants are able to describe why aquaculture is a viable Florida industry, list and discuss various industry characteristics, discuss U.S. import, export and market flows, name agencies involved with aquaculture and identify resources available to find out more information on Florida aquaculture.

A lesson plan, participant workbook and slide presentation are available for this training unit. Introducing Florida Aquaculture is appropriate for a wide range of audiences and can be utilized in training county SARTs, recruiting agencies and members, and for achieving general educational needs in organizations outside of SART. These documents are available to view and download from the Florida SART home page at <http://www.flsart.org>. Click on "Training Materials."

*Florida Agricultural Statistical Directory 2004. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The most recent statistics for aqauculture are for 2001 revenues.



Editor: Gregory S. Christy, DVM, State ESF-17 Coordinator, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Animal Industry

Associate editor: Elizabeth A. Wang, UF/IFAS, University of Florida

The SART SENTINEL is an e-mail newsletter prepared monthly by Dr. Gregory S. Christy and the staff of the Florida State Agricultural Response Team. Past issues of the Sentinel are archived on the Florida SART Web Site: <www.flsart.org>.


Disaster Links

For additional information on agriculture, animals, and disaster, visit:

Florida SART Home Page: <www.flsart.org>
UF/IFAS Disaster Handbook: <http://disaster.ifas.ufl.edu/>
Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN): <http://eden.lsu.edu/>

For a complete list of all SART participating agencies, visit the Florida SART Web site: <www.flsart.org>.


 Tip of the Month! -- Finding Loved Ones, Human and Furry, in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

<www.katrinasafe.com> -- Evacuees wishing to inform loved ones of their location can register their name by clicking on "Report My Location" from the navigation on this site. Concerned family members can view the list of those loved ones already entered by clicking on "Find Evacuee." The Red Cross has established a toll-free hotline, 1-877-LOVED1S (1-877-568-3319), for those who do not have Internet access or would like to check this list without a computer.

Animal Emergency Response Network (AERN) is an on-line missing pets database at: <http://disaster.petfinder.com/emergency/>. Established by Maddie's Fund and Petfinder.com, owners can use this database to report a lost pet, report pet(s) that need rescue or placement in foster homes, or request assistance for pets with them. Individuals wishing to volunteer to provide foster homes for pets may also register here. Reports of found, rescued, and sheltered pets with descriptions of breed, color, sex and last known location are updated continually; please check AERN often.