BOULDER COUNTY VOAD
QUARTERLY MEETING #2
17 APRIL 2018 / 3:00 PM / LONGMONT HUMANE SOCIETY
Rhea Moriarity (Longmont Humane Society), Sara Spensieri (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control & ESF 21), Joycelyn Fankhouser (Boulder County HHS & ESF 6 Lead), Aaron Titus (VOAD Co-Chair, Crisis Cleanup, LDS Charities), Craig Schmidle (VOAD Chair), Liz Smokowski (Longmont Humane Society), Ron Collins (Red Cross), Richard Brandon (Mountain Health Collaborative), Jenny Tierney (Red Cross), Janette Taylor (Nederland Food Pantry, also writing emergency plan for Nederland-area nonprofits), Jerry Schmidt (Boulder County ARES), Mary Eldred (Boulder County Community Services & ESF 19), Joyce Glazier (PDA, VOAD Officer At-Large), Chris Current (Nederland Food Pantry), Barbara Brown, Karen Hammer, & Clark Myers (Medical Reserve Corps), Stephanie Walton (VOAD Officer At-Large, Foothills United Way & ESF 19), Joan Cernich (Red Cross), Andrew Notbohm (OEM), Bob Barnaby (Volunteer with OEM, Hygiene Fire, Team Rubicon), Lyn Heydt (Colorado FriendShip)
Learning About Animal Evacuations in Boulder County
- Presenters: Sara Spensieri and Liz Smokowski
- Topics: Procedures, Capacity, Partnerships, Use of Volunteers (This was a great session! For full information, see discussion section below)
BoCo VOAD Communications Discussion
- The Boulder County VOAD still maintains its communications plan, which is available on the website. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
- The VOAD network encourages its members to be aware of their own internal communications plans for a disaster. If VOAD members need backup communications support or planning, then contact Craig about Amateur Radio Emergency Services. The ARES network is very robust and you can even map the HAMs closest to you.
Next BoCo VOAD Meeting
- Tuesday, July 17th from 3:00 to 5:00. Location TBD
- Topic: Badging and Credentialing of Volunteers/Organizations
BoCo VOAD Member Updates
- Medical Reserve Corps is looking for volunteers (all types of volunteers); will be certified in CPR, etc. There is lots of need, lots of requirements, lots of different opportunities
- Foothills United Way has 2-1-1 services in the community; add your organization to the list. And Better Together Community Resilience classes are now scheduled. Contact Tiernan for more information
- Richard Brandon represents Mountain Health Collaborative (created by Amy Skinner at Peak to Peak Counseling). They have 15 volunteers ready in Nederland to be first response for those who need mental health assistance when there is an event; volunteers will be trained through MRC or Red Cross to be providing mental health services
- Lifebridge Church is putting together a trained disaster response group to respond during a disaster; will be able to shelter 250 people; will be using multiple groups to train to respond.
- The VOAD is looking to expand membership to make sure we are covering needs and different communities around the county. Think about the following questions and send your responses along to Tiernan and Craig: Who should be a part of VOAD? Who hasn’t been attending meetings and should be? What connections do you have that would be of use for the Boulder County VOAD?
- Would anyone be willing to be a VOAD liaison? This position is the front line of contact during an emergency and helps to coordinate communication between VOAD officers and Boulder County HHS. Contact Tiernan if you have even the slightest bit of interest (email@example.com)
- What volunteer opportunities exist in your organization? What skill sets are you looking for? If there are specific gaps in your volunteer pool or needs that you have then please send that information to Craig. He is working on increasing connections between VOAD members.
Boulder County Animal Control
- Boulder County Animal Control lives in the Sheriff’s Office.
- The agency is tasked with enforcing ordinances and assisting the public. People are number one during an emergency, animals come second
- Animal Control’s first role is as first responder; when Emergency Center opens or backup comes then they switch to focusing on animals
- Their main work during a disaster is animal evacuations. Residents of the county will call 911 or the EOC to request an evacuation. The requester is put on a list and prioritized by whether the area is safe or not.
- If animal control needs help, or needs to go into unsafe areas, they will contact local fire departments to assist with animal evacuation – Animal Control officers are not red carded.
- Sheltering in place is possible for large animals if they are not in danger. Animal Control does feeding for animals that remain at home (possible place for credentialed volunteers to play a role) and will check on animals twice a day
- If they must be evacuated, large animals are sheltered at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. If possible, the campground next to the fairgrounds will also be opened so people can stay there and care for their own large animals
- Boulder County is also working on agreements and facilities at the Gilpin County Fairgrounds since that is easier to access for some mountain communities during an incident. Boulder already has an agreement with Larimer County to take animals to the Ranch in Loveland
- Animal Control is ESF 21. They work closely with the Office of Emergency Management and rely heavily on the call center at the EOC. The department also works with the staff of ESF 6, the Salvation Army, Red Cross, etc. and stays in close contact with everyone at EOC
- Code3 Associates provides assistance with major disasters. They are professionally trained animal rescue non-profit and they also provide trainings to others
- Mounted Search and Rescue provides volunteers
- Boulder County Horse Association provides volunteers
- Sheriff’s Office has 4 officers with Sara as supervisor
- There are 15 animal control officers total in Boulder County, including county and individual municipalities
- Shelters can’t have an officer assigned to them – there are simply not enough people
- Emergency trailers have been provided to South Boulder Rec Center and YMCA to hold supplies (food and water) so there can be co-locating in shelters (Just for small companion animals – no large animal)
- If shelters won’t accept animals, then animal control will transport animals to the humane society
- Animal Control also helps with recovery after an incident if animal doesn’t make it through
- Animal Control is looking at creating their own volunteer team for large animal evacuations. Through the sheriff’s office, they have piloted an Animal Evacuation Team by working with volunteers from Mounted Search and Rescue and Boulder County Horseman Association.
- While volunteers are currently recruited from those organizations, Animal Control would like to develop more trainings and guidelines of their own. Once the liability waivers and all the requirements have been established then they will open the sheriff’s team to the public
- Currently, the Animal Evacuation Team is on call through Everbridge (piloted in 2017)
- Accepted volunteers have ICS training and trucks and trailers that have been examined by the sheriff’s office. They must be escorted by sheriff’s department when behind the incident line.
- If not already part of the team, Animal Control tries to direct those wishing to volunteer to the Parks Office, Mounted Search and Rescue, or some other organization that accept volunteers
- Jefferson County is really on top of animal evacuations because they have Front Range Rescue (501c3 centered on animals). There is nothing like that in Boulder County, but a stronger volunteer corp would help
Longmont Humane Society
- During a disaster there will be an emergency hold/impound at the Humane Society that is at no cost to the homeowner. This lasts for the duration of the incident and then the owner is given 24 hours to get settled before the Humane Society starts calling. There is approximately a 30 day limit for animals to stay at the shelter
- The Humane Society tries to coordinate things as well as possible with Animal Control, but local residents can also go directly to the Humane Society to leave their pets without waiting for animal control
- Look on Facebook and social media for what the Humane Society actually wants donated
- Day to day operations change slightly during a disaster, but the Humane Society still operates under Department of Agriculture regulations
- The Humane Society only takes companion animals – up to great dane/small horse size
- The Humane Society also accepts donations from the community. Some donations will be given out to other organizations, others are used for animals sheltering there.
- The Humane Society is a drop off location; staff doesn’t go out and retrieve donations
- Humane Society will extend hours during disaster, but does not stay open 24/7 (though Animal Control has access 24/7)
- Can increase capacity by transferring animals to local rescue groups (Dumb Friends League, etc) or other Humane Societies
- There is a pet food pantry for homeless pets at Longmont Humane in addition to the county-wide pantry
- The Humane Society offers a spectrum of activities to volunteers – Longmont and Boulder Valley share volunteers back and forth. The Humane society can take 25-40 spontaneous volunteers to help with laundry, sorting donations, etc.
- Foster homes are a key part of ongoing volunteerism. People foster throughout the year and specialize in different areas.
- It is somewhat difficult to take on new foster homes during a disaster because homes have to be inspected by staff. But there are currently 80 active foster homes; with another 100 potential homes if inspectors are available
- The Humane Society creates a running list of places that are offering shelter around the area so after 30 days, owner can connect directly to farmers, etc. in the region. This would not be an official foster home of the Humane Society, but would be a neighbor to neighbor connection
Questions from the Audience
- Can there be a temporary animal shelter side by side with a Red Cross shelter?
- Yes and no. If there is a giant disaster and there is a big enough building that has ventilation, etc then a shelter could be set up. This is difficult to do since the building would need 24/7 security, cleaning, etc.
- The best possibility is to call Code3 or SPCA or American Humane to see if they have capacity to set up a temporary shelter or help with transport in a major disaster
- What happens if the evacuation shelter does not accept animals?
- In Boulder County, if the shelter will not set up a co-location shelter, then Animal Control will transport animals to Humane Societies
- What should the main messaging be about animals during a disaster?
- Take animals to Humane Society and contact Animal Control through EOC if necessary
- Can there be a temporary animal shelter side by side with a Red Cross shelter?
VOAD Committee Meetings
Behavioral Health/Spiritual and Emotional Care
Subcommittee for emotional and behavioral health have been meeting to formalize the voucher program so it is ready to go if there is a fund available. More news will be ready in July. Presentation from CU intern. Stephanie (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Joycelyn (email@example.com) are leading these efforts