Disaster, emergency-related issues addressed

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The Executive Board acted on two recommendations involving disaster and emergency issues.

The board approved the AVMA's hosting a meeting in 2007 of experts to identify best practices and potential guidelines to support nationwide animal emergency plans in the implementation of the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act. The meeting will be held in cooperation with the National Emergency Management Association and will cost an estimated $12,500. The Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues submitted the recommendation.

The AVMA actively pursued passage of the PETS Act, which ensures that state and local emergency preparedness operational plans address the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals following a major disaster or emergency. The bill was passed in October 2006.

The CDEI believes that the AVMA is the logical organization to bring together multiple agency representatives to achieve a common understanding of the PETS Act and to draft a guidance document for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to use during development of the PETS Act guidelines for states.

Also on recommendation from the CDEI, the board approved the concept of a National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs, which may include the formation of a nonprofit incorporated entity.

At the 2006 AVMA National Animal Disaster Summit, it was recommended that a national multiagency coordination group be created. The envisioned mission of the group would be to serve as a unifying, ongoing national forum for animal emergency management issues. The group would include all stakeholders such as federal agencies, animal health associations, national and state animal organizations, and industry.

The board's approval of the recommendation authorized AVMA staff, in consultation with the CDEI, to serve as a participant in a working group tasked with developing a concept of how this national group might function, for future consideration by stakeholders including the AVMA.

The committee noted it was not suggesting the AVMA join any group at this time, but that it supports the concept that such an alliance is needed.