Vol. 8, No. 3, March 2012

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SART Co-Sponsors

Technical Rescue Training for RDSTF Regions

Following 9/11 Florida divided into 7 Regional Domestic Security Task Force (RDSTF) zones with Regional Operations Centers located in Pensacola, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa Bay, Fort Myers and Miami. These regions are contiguous with Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement (FDLE) regions.

The RDSTF goal is to provide a regional response to any weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or terrorist incident. It allows smaller counties to:
   -    draw on the resources of larger counties and
   -    provide assistance to larger metropolitan areas when needed.

Photo by John Haven

RDSTF Region 1: David Perry and John Haven conducted a two-day operations level large animal technical rescue course at the IFAS extension facility at DeFuniak Springs, Walton County. Participants from the sheriff's office, the fire department, animal control, IFAS Extension and Alaqua Animal Refuge attended.
RDSTF Region 2: Training took place at the Quincy IFAS Extension facility and included IFAS Extension personnel with county animal control, sheriff's deputies and the Midway Fire Department.


"Around the state, various communities experience livestock trailer accidents, animals stuck in the mud, horses in holes that came off a trail – and yet very few of these same communities have the training and equipment to confidently deal with these situations," says John Haven, Director of Medical/Health Administration at UF's Veterinary Medical College.

"As a result, Florida SART, with the UF College of Veterinary Medicine and UF IFAS partners, created a two day course in Large Animal Technical Rescue – operations level," Haven says. "This course, Homeland Security catalog number 11-26325, is an approved course for use with DHS training dollars, and is designed to provide class members with extensive hands-on practice in animal behavior, knot tying, low- and high-angle livestock rescue, and patient packaging and transport. It touches on the incident command system and first aid as well. The class is limited to 16 students to ensure high intensity hands-on training, with the goal that participants are able to actually perform rescue scenarios when completed.

"SART's goal over the next few years is to bring the course to all RDSTF zones, and develop regional large animal technical rescue capability. If your agency is interested in coordinating a future class in RDSTF zones 4, 5, 6 or 7, please contact Joe Kight joe.kight@freshfromflorida.com or John Haven havenj@ufl.edu. Facilities should have a covered roof (at least 20 feet high), adequate parking for the class, and a classroom. While not required, it is recommended that classes to be multi-agency and even multi-county. Because it is an approved course, agencies with training dollars can schedule their own course as well."


A Solar Wind Report
Could solar flares disrupt electronic systems on earth?

           A giant plume of radiation heads toward earth at 4 million mph. The earth goes dark as engineers struggle with power grids. Airliners packed with passengers are suddenly flying blind and deaf. Your computer won't boot up and webinars die in mid sentence. Shades of Ghostbusters!

Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical?"
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria!
Mayor: All right, all right! I get the point!

            A solar storm isn't technically something new to worry about. Solar storms have hammered the earth since long before humans were planting beans and inviting wild dogs to share their campfire.

            The Associated Press picked up a NOAA press release on March 6 which noted that a series of large solar storms are "racing toward Earth, threatening to unleash a torrent of charged particles that could disrupt power grids, GPS and airplane flights."

            What I found interesting was not the idea of a solar storm playing havoc with communications and transportation because, after all, a solar storm is like a germ. I can't actually see it even though yet I might suffer the consequences.

            Especially interesting in the AP story was a reference to Joe Kunches, "a NOAA scientist." Kunches (see www.insidegnss.com/node/1125) said the storms may seem fiercer because we have been lulled by several years of weak solar activity.

I should consider using more sun screen, I suppose, but the situation actually reminds me of Florida's dearth of hurricane landfalls since the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Hurricane winds though only reach the 74-160 mph range. That's puny compared to the speed of charged particles from solar storms, which race across the universe at 4.0 million mph.

            According to the AP, NASA solar physicist Alex Young added, "It could give us a bit of a jolt" which sounds like British under-statement.
What effect might a serious solar storm have?
     •      It could disrupt Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) transmissions which guide farm tractors across large fields, airliners to their destinations and families to unfamiliar vacation spots.
     •      It could leave us in the dark, unable to communicate by knocking out the power grid. The AP noted this happened to millions of residents of Quebec in 1989 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_1989_geomagnetic_storm.Cell phone communications, computer transmissions and even our reading habits on Nooks, Kindles and IPads could be affected.

            What's the point?
            Don't be lulled by several years of weak hurricane activity That can change overnight. [Mayor: All right, all right! I get the point!] The point is to have a plan for your family, your agency and for your business. Stay in contact. It truly isn't a matter of "if," but "when."

Florida Geomagnetic Storm Energy Assurance Tabletop Exercise

Lightning storm over Boston.
(NOAA photo)

Scheduled for April 17-19, this tabletop exercise involves state and federal agencies, and private power companies. The scenario is that Florida will experience a G5-level geomagnetic storm and the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council makes the determination to shut down Florida's power grid for several days. The storm is confirmed as the largest geomagnetic event on record and it comes in multiple waves.

The scenario will highlight the cascading effects this type of incident would cause. Due to the interdependency of many sectors on the electrical power grid, preparedness objectives and discussion related to the impact of a geomagnetic storm on communications, hospitals and critical infrastructure and functions will also be included in the exercise. William Bryan, Department of Energy Asst. Secretary for Infrastructure Security and Energy will be the keynote speaker.

The exercise location is the Crown Plaza-Melbourne, 2605 North Highway A1A, Indialantic, Florida 32903 and the exercise will be simulcast via webinar. For information www.floridadisaster.org/trainingcalendar/moreinfo.asp?id=2632 or contact Michael McElroy (850) 922-4444.


- Additional Photos -
Operation Red Fly Screwworm Tabletop Training Exercise

On January 24-25 the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Animal Industry, hosted a Cochliomyia hominivorax (New World Screwworm) tabletop training exercise at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. Here are a few additional photos the editors thought you might enjoy. All photos will soon be posted on line in the Photo Gallery section of the Florida SART web site. The substantive follow-up ran in the February SART Sentinel and is available at www.flsart.org/newsletter/sent-12-02.jsp#f1.

Above left: Dr. Tom Holt, Florida State Veterinarian and Director, Division of Animal Industry, FDACS. Above right(l-r): Dr. Clarence Campbell, former Florida State Veterinarian, Dr. Greg Christy, FDACS-DAI and Dr. Alejandro Parra, Mexico.

"We got a fortuitous break in 1958," said Dr. Clarence Cambell, who served 38 years as the Florida state veterinarian. "A very cold winter allowed us to concentrate fly eradication efforts in a much smaller portion of the state and after that it took only 16 months."

Above left: Dr. Suzan Loerzel, USDA, APHIS/VS and Dr. Greg Hodges, FDACS-DPI. Above right: James Maxwell, FDACS-DAI.

"Our maximum production of sterile flies is 500 million per week," said Dr. John Welch, Technical Director of the Screwworm Eradication Program. "We must produce 10 million flies a week to maintain the genetic health of the brood stock."

Above left (l-r): Bill Martin, FWC and Tim Wilson, UF IFAS. Above right (l-r): Katie Purcell, FWC and Sterling Ivey, FDACS-Press Secretary.

"The current positive countries for screwworm include Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Granada and Aruba in the Caribbean," said Dr. John Welch, "and all of South America except Chile."


Introducing the Animal Health Network

The food supply is a potential target for terrorist attacks. Any disease, pest, or poisonous agent, whether naturally, intentionally, or unintentionally introduced, could trigger health or economic catastrophes.

The Animal Health Network is a communication conduit for State Veterinarians and other officials to get vital animal disease alerts to non-commercial livestock and poultry owners. This state-adaptable, local network concept uses local feed retailers and county Extension educators to channel information to "backyard farmers" who might otherwise not receive the alerts.

Commercial producers receive important alerts through professional associations, but local non-commercial livestock and poultry owners often are not reached. In fact, reaching these small non-commercial operators can be difficult – especially the ones who do not wish to be known.

The network is not a news release system; instead it is a way to use the already established Extension system to deliver critical messages from the State Veterinarian in times of crisis. That way, small operators will learn what the crisis is and what to do to protect their animals.

To date, the following 20 states are involved in the Animal Health Network: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming. Preventing a concern from becoming a catastrophe – www.animalhealthnetwork.org.


Florida Grows Avocados

The avocado is a fruit and in Florida it is grown only in Miami-Dade County because the tree does not tolerate freezing conditions.

           Like the banana, an avocado matures on the tree, but ripens off the tree, usually on your kitchen counter. Unlike the banana, avocado is wonderful when cut up in salads and Florida avocados are both larger than those grown in California and have a lower fat content.
           In an era when world travel might introduce bugs, viruses and germs from any portion of the globe into the Sunshine State without warning, the avocado can be its own worst enemy. Not only is it temperature-sensitive, but it has difficulty self-pollinating as male and female flowers tend to open at different times of the day. And some varieties bear well only in alternate years.
           Most U.S. avocados – about 95 percent – come from southern California and imported avocados are from Mexico, Peru and Chile.
           Even with nearly a million trees bearing fruit, Florida avocado production has declined by 170,000 bushels or 15 percent. Bearing (growing) acreage is also declining perhaps from economic pressures on the land, saline creep into the water table and complicated weather patterns – avocados require deep, frequent watering for optimal bearing. What has saved avocado production in Florida is the rising price – up about 25 percent to $15/bushel. The value of the crop is about $14 million per year.
           Not only are commercial growers considering the future of their crops, studies estimate that 10 percent of the tree cover in Miami-Dade County is the avocado tree – most grown on homeowner properties.
           Unfortunately for Florida avocados, they are a member of the Lauraceae family and of the genus Persea Americana. In other words, avocados are food for laurel wilt a fatal fungal disease carried by the tiny Redbay ambrosia beetle. And it has spread throughout Florida.
           Containment strategies call for suppression of the beetle, but at this time the long-range forecast for continuing avocado production in Florida is not promising.
    FDACS Division of Plant Industry has begun a "Save the Guac(amole)" campaign (www.savetheguac.com/). The site links to YouTube videos, recipes, warnings about transporting firewood and lots more information. The DPI help-line for reports about possible beetle infection is (888) 397-1517.


A SART Special Report

By John Haven, Director, UF CVM
Photos by Catherine Pennenga

How big is a large animal for technical rescue?
Fortunately for Joe the Springer Spaniel, it's about 50 lbs.

Lowering Dr. Roger Clemmons

Down the hole

Friday afternoon was a great day for Joe and his owner to play in the park in Jonesville - until he found a hidden hole and fell approximately 50 feet. The Alachua County Fire Rescue Service, which conducts periodic training with UF College of Veterinary Medicine's Large Animal Technical Rescue Team, responded, and requested mutual aid from the UF CVM technical rescue.

The UF VETS team, led by college director John Haven, which specializes in high angle technical rescue, had a sling designed for canines. With the fire service, the UF VETS team rallied together with officers from Alachua County Sheriff's Office, Alachua County Animal Control, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, to quickly and safely return Joe to his owner.

Dr. Roger Clemmons, who performed the actual rescue, was lowered into the hole, where he performed a quick assessment of the dog. While scared, and never having met Dr. Clemmons, Joe the Springer Spaniel was a cooperative victim as he was strapped into the special canine rescue harness. Riding around Dr. Clemmon's knees, both Dr. Clemmons and Joe were smoothly lifted back up the hole, where Joe was reunited with his owner. While he appeared no worse for his adventure, Joe was taken by the owner to UF College of Veterinary Medicine's 24/7 Emergency Room for further evaluation.



Copy by John Haven
Photos by Catherine Pennenga

The UF VETS team is an all-volunteer and donation supported team. If you would like to make a donation to support the team, please contact John Haven at havenj@ufl.edu. This is the same team which recently coordinated the rescue of the horse Midnight from a mud flat on Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.


Caught on Radar …

Florida SART Advisory Board Meeting

           Advisory Board Members: Please mark your calendars for the SART Advisory Board meeting on April 4th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Alachua Regional Service Center in Alachua, 14101 Hwy. 441, Suite 200 – telephone (386) 418-5500.

           We would like to know if you prefer to attend this meeting via webinar if that option were available. Please let Bianca Blakley, SART Planner know right away if interested (850) 410-0959 bianca.blakley@freshfromflorida.com.

Florida SART CoChair for the Advisory Board Meeting
David Perry (left) and Dr. Joan Dusky (right)

Joan Dusky and David Perry: Welcome
Richard Miranda: Giant African Land Snail
Kendra Stauffer: USDA/VS Update
           MIMS Technology (animal tracking system)
           Miami International Airport
Joe Kight: SART-approved Training
David Perry: SART Exercises
           Cattle Exercise, Dec. 6, 2011
           Screwworm Exercise, Jan. 24-26, 2012
           MARE Exercise Region II
SART activities:
           David Perry: County Annual Visits
           Bianca Blakley: New SART Video (production)
           Joe Kight: 2013 SART Planning Meeting
Partner Reports and Updates

Large Animal Rescue Training on SART Web Site
           Check out www.flsart.org/library/lart.jsp for video and supporting documents about Large Animal Rescue Training. The video covers such topics as Canal, Trench, Crate and Mud Rescue techniques and many other technical aspects of assisting large animals. The supporting documents have plenty of pictures.

Hodges Receives 2012 Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension
           The Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) presented awards at a Joint Meeting between the Southeastern and Southwestern Branches in Little Rock, Arkansas, March 3-7.

Dr. Amanda Hodges at the 2011 SART Planning Meeting.

           Dr. Amanda Hodges of the Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida, IFAS, has been selected for the 2012 Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension.
           Dr. Amanda Hodges of the Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida, IFAS, has been selected for the 2012 Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension.
           She also conducts an extensive range of Extension activities in support of U.S. crop biosecurity. Dr. Hodges has developed a robust Extension program far in excess of the requirements of her assignment. (Physorg.com)

National Public Radio Highlights Large Animal Rescue Training
           "First Responders Trained in Animal Rescues" by Josephine Bennett and Georgia Public Broadcasting aired on Morning Edition, the National Public Radio (NPR) morning news broadcast on March 6.
           The four-minute segment was taped near Macon, Georgia at the farm and training center owned by Dr. Rebecca Gimenez www.tlaer.org.

           Bennett's segment began, "First responders never know what they'll find when they get called to an accident site. Sometimes crews have to rescue dairy cows from collapsed barns, evacuate horses during wildfires or move pigs off the highway after an accident. These first responders often don't have the proper training to handle large animals."
           Dr. Tomas Gimenez said, "The biggest goal of this training is to show people - emergency responders, horse owners - how to safely help a large animal that is in some kind of predicament without hurting the animal, without killing the animal, and without hurting or killing a human."
           An audio recording and a written transcript may be accessed from the NPR web site at(www.npr.org/2012/03/06/148021949/first-responders-trained-in-animal-rescues) .

Florida SARC Schedules Free Classes
           The Florida State Animal Response Coalition has scheduled free classes in Small Animal Sheltering Awareness: March 17th in Tallahassee, March 24th in Port Charlotte and May 5th in Ft. Lauderdale. To register, go to http://www.flsarc.org/Training.html. If you have questions contact Consie von Gontard, Director of Training at training@flsarc.org (352) 658-1224..

Midnight Rides Again

           Midnight, the horse rescued from the mud by a combined team of Alachua County Sheriffs deputies, University of Florida VETS team members, Payne's Prairie State Park officers and local veterinarians on December 30, 2011 recently reunited with some of those who came to his aid. The event was the "Climb for the Cure Cancer Foundation" trail ride, sponsored by the Alachua County Sheriff's Department.
           In the above photo (left to right): Deputy Perry Koon, Sheriff Sadie Darnell, "Nugget," Deputy Danny Buckley, owner John Bland, "Midnight" and UF team leader John Haven. (See the January 2012 SART Sentinel article "Large Animal Rescue Training Pays Dividends – Midnight's Rescue")

A little rain … goes a long way: Keetch Bryam Update (March 12, 2012)

           You can check the current status of the Florida drought index at http://flame.fl-dof.com/fire_weather/KBDI/index.html.


About the SART Sentinel

The SART Sentinel is an e-mail newsletter prepared monthly by the members of the Florida State Agricultural Response Team. Past issues of the Sentinel are archived on the Florida SART Web Site www.flsart.org.

If you have a story or photo that you would like to have considered for publication in the SART Sentinel, please contact the editors.

Editor: Rick Sapp, PhD, Technical Writer, under contract with the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Division of Animal Industry rsa5@cox.net

Associate Editor: Joe Kight, State ESF-17 Coordinator, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Division of Animal Industry Joe.Kight@freshfromflorida.com