Disaster preparedness

In this article:
  • Read about veterinarians’ roles in disaster preparedness and response.
  • Discover disaster preparedness tools and resources for your clinic and clients.
  • Learn about disaster aid for veterinarians and veterinary students.
  • View AVMA policies on disaster preparedness and response.

Disaster and emergency preparedness and response are important issues to the AVMA. Animals are affected by the same disasters and emergencies as people—natural, man-made, large, and small. Whether it's a hurricane or tornado, a flood or earthquake, a chemical leak or act of terrorism, veterinarians are vital to response and recovery efforts during and after disasters. We also play an important role in promoting and aiding preparedness, to limit the impact of disasters on both animals and people.

AVMA resources help both veterinarians and our clients be prepared for any kind of emergency.

Tools and resources for veterinary clinics

Veterinary practices vary dramatically in size, type, and location—and so do specific needs for emergency planning. Whether you need guidance in developing a disaster plan for your practice or just want to review and update your plan, these resources will help.

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How to write a disaster plan for your clinic

Use this practical guide to make decisions about preparing your practice for disasters and emergencies.

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Tools and resources for your clients

Help animal owners consider the whole family in their disaster preparedness plans. These resources can help ensure your clients’ animals are taken care of during disasters.

Pets and disasters

From preparing a disaster plan and evacuation kit, to knowing basic first aid tips, these tools help pet owners save the whole family when disaster strikes.

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Large animals and livestock in disasters

Horses and other large animals pose unique issues for owners during a disaster. Preparing ahead of time and acting quickly are key to protecting them.

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Wildfire smoke and animals

Smoke can cause health problems for animals as well as people. If you can see or feel the effects of smoke yourself, you also should take precautions to keep pets and livestock safe.

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Large animals and livestock in disasters


AVMA Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues

The AVMA established the Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues in 2001 to provide expertise and guidance in the following areas:

  • Addressing the veterinarian's role in emergency and disaster issues
  • Addressing the effects of disasters on animal health, public health, and the veterinary profession
  • Contributing to the development of AVMA position statements on disaster and emergency issues that affect the veterinary profession
  • Developing guidelines for the veterinary profession to use regarding disaster situations

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