Disaster Training in North Richland Hills
On Saturday, 10/29/2011, four ARRNT members made our way to the North Richland Hills new library facility to attend a workshop training on becoming a Red Rover Responder and/or to learn how to help animals in a disaster situation. The trainers were all experienced Responders and were open and honest about some of the darker side of rescue work. We heard about the defeat in a dog’s eyes, the matted fur that had to be shaved off an animal, the work so filthy that Responders threw their clothes away and replaced them at the local Walmart or thrift store. There is a lot more to this work than one might think, including awareness of confidentiality, legal issues, dealing with the trauma of the animals as well as our own traumatic stress, and the importance of developing a network to adjust to the real world after the deployment is over.
Lynn, Adam, Char and Barb attended the training. Lynn, Adam and Char all displayed some real talent during the “acting out” segments when each table would share their operational guidelines (SOG) with the group. Lynn’s “loose dog” portrayal was stellar — how about some street theater in the future, guys?
Post Workshop Training for Rescuers
Following the training, there is still more to do. Each potential rescuer must watch an online video, complete a downloadable worksheet packet, and pass a FEMA class online. We each need 50 hours of animal handling training from a local shelter or sanctuary, and each rescuer needs a tetanus shot.
The crew from Red Rover Responders were very warm and accommodating. They even provided vegan and vegetarian pizza for the attendees! If you missed this workshop, be sure to attend a future event – I have already contacted Red Rover and they have promised to keep us abreast of their scheduled classes in our area and beyond. To read about the work of the Red Rover Responders, check out their blog and journal here.
Forging New Partnerships for Animals
Meeting other workshop participants was wonderful. I met a woman from DFW Wildlife, a new dog trainer, and many dedicated and concerned animal people. If anyone chooses not to deploy, they can become helpers at tabling events for Red Rover, and ARRNT will be using some of their handouts at our future events, too. Another collaboration, another success. Now to forge a few million more – the animals are waiting!