Caring for the Evacuation Needs of Animals, Large and Small
In the 1990s, two Butte area residents passed away during a wildfire because they refused to evacuate without their animals. Determined to never see this happen again, former City of Chico firefighter John Maretti founded the non-profit known as North Valley Animal Disaster Group (NVADG).
Today, NVADG has played a part in rescuing thousands of animals, operating under the Butte County Animal Control to help ensure the safe and immediate evacuation of animals—large and small—in the event of a disaster.
“NVADG works within the established Incident Command System during disasters as one of many mutual aid groups,” says KeriLynn Anderson, Fundraising and Communications Manager for NVADG. “We have the experience, training, and equipment to seamlessly integrate into the overall disaster response.” The organization relies on its growing crew of over 250 volunteers to respond during emergencies, providing extensive training for new volunteers and required ongoing training throughout the year to keep skills fresh.
Images courtesy of North Valley Animal Disaster Group.
An Invaluable Resource for You and Your Animals
As we head into the driest fall months, it’s more important than ever to familiarize yourself with the resources available to you in the event of an emergency. NVADG is one organization providing residents of Butte County with lifesaving support for their animals.
During an emergency, NVADG supports the public in three primary ways:
- Sheltering large and small animals. If a family needs to evacuate but cannot bring their pets, horses, and livestock with them, there is a small animal shelter and large animal shelter they can bring their animals where they can be fed and cared for until they can be reunited.
- Evacuation of animals. A trained Evacuation Team responds to telephone hotline calls if you need to evacuate but cannot locate your animals.
- Shelter-in-place support: Volunteers care for animals in evacuated areas who are safe but need food and water.
Preparing Your Animals for Disaster Situations
Echoing our Be Ready, Butte rallying call—”You have to GET ready to BE ready!”—KeriLynn says, “Be ready to GO. Have an evacuation plan for your family that includes your pets!”
You can get your pets, horses, and livestock ready for wildfires and other disaster situations by doing the following:
- Prepare a “go bag” for each of your animals: non-perishable food, water, medications, collar/leash, carrier, vaccination records, and anything else they may need if you were to leave with a moment’s notice.
- Horses should be trained to load, and supplies should be packed for outdoor pets and livestock.
- Have a plan with friends and neighbors on what to do if you’re not at home when a disaster happens.
- Keep a key hidden outside so emergency personnel can get to your house pets.
NVADG is 100% donor-funded and receives no money from government agencies to do their life-saving work, yet they continue to provide our community with extensive training and education to protect our furry family members. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to NVADG or sign up for training as a volunteer to help them with their mission. And learn more about staying prepared for wildfires at Be Ready, Butte.