Harvey, Irma and wildfires: Be prepared; help those in need

Published on September 07, 2017

Flood-BldgRoofs-DisasterPreparednessVetsEditor's Note: We are sharing today the content of an email that was sent to all AVMA members on Wednesday, Sept. 6. If you are an AVMA member and did not receive this special email, please check your member profile to ensure that we have your correct email address.

Hurricane Harvey has left widespread destruction in his wake. Irma, now a powerful Category 5 storm, has hit the Caribbean and will possibly strike the Southeastern United States. Wildfires are scorching extensive swaths of the western U.S.

Animals and many of our veterinary colleagues are feeling Mother Nature’s fury. We’re committed to providing information to our members, many of whom continue to ask how you can help, what the AVMA is doing to assist both animals and people in need, and for information to help you and your clients prepare in advance for possible disasters.

Disaster preparedness and response resources

Whether or not your clinic is in the path of Irma or the western wildfires, there’s no better time than now to create or review your disaster plan. It can help you navigate – and potentially mitigate – the impact of any disaster.

Information to share with clients

Help for clinics impacted by disasters

Insurance assistance: AVMA PLIT and AVMA LIFE are working with members to assist them in their time of need.

Disaster Reimbursement Grants: The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) offers grants up to $5,000 to help veterinarians provide emergency care to animal victims of disasters. Learn more and apply at avmf.org.

Volunteering to help

Despite the natural desire to volunteer or send in-kind donations, emergency officials discourage in-kind donations and will turn away any would-be volunteers who are not already part of a team that is trained and credentialed. Please do not take it upon yourself to enter a disaster-stricken area unless you are part of an organized response team with authorized access.

  • Anyone interested in volunteering to aid recovery efforts should register with a National Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster and then await word on how and where their efforts can help.
  • Veterinarians who are expecting to deploy to provide veterinary care in Texas at a later point will need to be licensed and can begin that process in advance. The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has applications available for Temporary Emergency Licenses for out-of-state veterinarians who expect to deploy in Texas.
  • To facilitate support of future incidents, veterinarians may want to consider joining and training with a veterinary medical emergency response team, such as a state veterinary medical reserve corps or local medical reserve corps program. For information, click here.

How the AVMA is helping

The AVMA will continue to coordinate efforts with those involved and do our part to help them get the right information to the people who need it. Stay up-to-date on the evolving situation on our Disaster Aid for Veterinarians web page.

  • Emergency officials say the best way to help is to donate to reputable charities that will funnel the right aid to the people who need it. The AVMA donated $100,000 to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s Disaster Reimbursement Grants program to help veterinarians provide services to animals affected, and we encourage you to join us in that effort.
  • You can help support the many veterinarians working to help the communities affected by donating to the AVMF using the AVMF Code “Disaster Relief.”

We are heartened by the outpouring of support that we have seen nationally for all of those affected by these disasters, and we hope you will join us in thanking and supporting everyone involved in the ongoing rescue and response.