Since 1995, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health has worked closely with the Indiana State Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) to prepare the state for a wide array of disaster situations that could impact pets, livestock, wildlife and exotic species, as well as their owners.
Countless hours of joint planning resulted in a new master plan that addresses the needs of animals and their owners within Indiana's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. The Animal Health and Care Emergency Support Function outlines the procedures for handling two general categories of situations: health- or disease-related emergencies and natural or man-made disasters.
Animal Health Emergencies
In recent years, on a large scale, BOAH has responded to cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza and bovine tuberculosis in Indiana. BOAH's veterinarians and animal health specialists quickly responded to contain and eradicate these diseases of high consequence.
BOAH's staff works to prepare for these and other diseases that could devastate Indiana's animal populations. Preparing includes working closely with the livestock and poultry industries to raise awareness, practice sound biosecurity to prevent entry and spread, and adopt plans to respond at the farm level.
Natural and Man-Made Disasters
Following the devastation of Hurricane Andrew, which hit Florida in 1992, staff members of the Indiana State Board of Animal Health and the former State Emergency Management Agency (now IDHS) saw the need to prepare to meet the needs of animals and their owners in large-scale natural disasters.
This began as the SAVE (State Annex for Veterinary Emergencies) program and has evolved to today's VMRC/ASERT. This program is maintained in cooperation with IDHS, and members may be called upon to respond to veterinary emergencies in Governor-declared disaster situations. This unique public-private partnership coordinates efforts to evacuate, rescue, treat and shelter animals in distress.