Emergency management plan approved

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During the past decade, the AVMA has placed increasing emphasis on disaster and emergency management issues. With this commitment of resources comes an increased expectation for professional leadership and member services. For this reason, the Executive Board approved, in concept, an AVMA Emergency Management Program Strategic Plan.

The plan was proposed by the AVMA Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues, which maintained that the Association should have an up-to-date strategy for all four phases of emergency management: prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Emergency management, especially with respect to animal issues, is a rapidly changing and expanding field.

The committee drafted a comprehensive plan that reflects all of the AVMA's strategic goals and replaces the AVMA Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan, which was rescinded. The new plan identifies actions that require future development by the committee; any actions that require funding will be submitted to the Executive Board for approval.

The board chose to rescind a position statement on the need for a national wildlife contingency plan that would deal with emergencies. When the position statement was approved in the 1990s, disaster and emergency plans for wildlife did not exist. The Association of Avian Veterinarians proposed the plan, citing a need for a coordinated, unified response to disasters or emergencies that threaten or impact wildlife, by federal and state agencies as well as private-sector organizations and individuals.

Since 1990, however, the CDEI says that at least 45 states have developed individual emergency plans to deal with animals in disasters, many of which include wildlife. Because wildlife populations differ from state to state, individualized state plans make the most sense. There are national plans for foreign and emerging animal diseases with provisions for wildlife, carcass disposal, quarantine, and euthanasia. These plans serve as a model for the development of state plans, and for concept of operations, should a national disaster be declared.