The City of Saratoga CERT organization hosted a six-hour dedicated animal shelter drill in the multipurpose room of the Joan Pisani Community Center on Saturday, 25 February 2023. The class and drill were conducted by three instructors from the City of Sacramento Fire Department CERT Animal Response Team, led by chief instructor Kathy Winkelman, and assisted by team instructors Robert Ross and Steven Mata. The drill built upon the “schoolhouse” presentation and tabletop exercise covering animal behavior in the post-disaster environmental, animal emotional stress, animal response and rescue, and animal sheltering, which the same Sacramento FD CERT Animal Response Team taught last summer on Saturday, 25 June 2022.

This 25 February 2023 full-activity drill focused upon the following areas:

  • Animal Intake protocols, paperwork, and activities. The instructors discussed and demonstrated the use of all forms and procedures required to establish the animal intake table at a field animal shelter. Drill attendees acted as either receiving animal shelter staff or clients dropping off their pets for sheltering. The protocols to properly – and expeditiously – process pets for sheltering were heavily emphasized, with many “real world injects” added to keep this part of the drill very lively.
  • Planning and physical establishment of the simulated field animal shelter. Drill attendees demonstrated for the instructors how to plan for the layout of a simulated field animal shelter, with received animals properly positioned within the available space to alleviate as much stress as possible on the sheltered animals and to set up a logical flow of activities within the shelter. Attendees physically assembled a large number of animal cages, and outfitted the cages with necessary supporting items for the sheltered animals. They further discussed how the animal shelter would be properly staffed, and the individual responsibilities of all animal shelter management personnel and workers.
  • All paperwork and forms required to properly run a field animal shelter were explained in detail, so that drill attendees gained a firm understanding of the complexities of running an animal shelter and the necessary paperwork safeguards required to document all shelter activities. 

Survey feedback from all drill attendees confirmed that this was very well-received training and that participants gained a newfound appreciation of the complexities involved in the planning for, standing up, and execution of animal sheltering responsibilities and activities.