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The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) is the state agency responsible for animal health emergencies and situational disasters involving both pets and livestock. Indiana BOAH is also the primary coordinating agency for Emergency Support Function 11-Agriculture and Natural Resources. In this role, BOAH is responsible for coordinating the activities of other state agencies to ensure a unified response to disasters that require activation of the State Emergency Operations Center.
Preparing for animal emergencies and disasters requires a continuous cycle of planning, training and exercise activities. BOAH works very closely with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Health, USDA-APHIS, Veterinary Services, district and county emergency planning and response organizations, and other partner agencies and stakeholders to develop plans for responding to animal emergencies.
Indiana BOAH has adopted the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and uses those concepts and principles when managing emergencies from preparedness to recovery. NIMS was established by the Department of Homeland Security in 2004 to enable responders at all jurisdictional levels and across all disciplines to work together more effectively and efficiently.
The Incident Command System (ICS) has been established by NIMS as the standardized on-scene, organizational framework to coordinate emergency responses for all types of hazardous incidents, including animal health emergencies. ICS defines and organizes roles and standardizes terminology. The modular system is flexible, adaptable and orchestrates the efforts of multiple agencies from multiple jurisdictions working on multiple sites.
BOAH's State Annex for Veterinary Emergencies (SAVE), now known as the Veterinary Medical Response Corps (MRC), was the first statewide emergency response network in the nation. Established in cooperation with the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), the MRC team responds to veterinary emergencies in Governor-declared disaster situations.
When a large-scale flood, tornado or other disaster strikes, specially trained veterinarians, technicians, and animal control personnel respond to the scene. Together, in a unique public-private partnership, they coordinate efforts to evacuate, rescue, treat and shelter animals in distress.
In fair weather, MRC's focus shifts to educating pet and livestock owners about the need to prepare for disasters.