Charleston Animal Society organized a hurricane disaster response summit July 16, 2020 in Charleston to modify the current framework for the safe evacuation of animal shelters during the COVID-19 threat.
“COVID-19 is adding to the challenge of hurricane evacuations and we need a summit like this now to adjust our current plans of operation to ensure the safe, efficient and effective evacuation of animal shelters,” said Charleston Animal Society President and CEO Joe Elmore. “The Summit is focused on the evacuation of animal shelters, not pet emergency shelters which are organized by local emergency management agencies.”
Key organizations from around South Carolina and the U.S. took part in the summit, which is being organized by No Kill South Carolina, a program of Charleston Animal Society. Key topics of the disaster response summit will include:
• Coordinating Transport Protocols: A key challenge with transports will be maintaining social distance.
• Developing a Framework for Evacuations in a COVID-19 Environment: Leaders will develop a plan for their organizations to work together to evacuate animals out of harm’s way
• Identifying Resources: Making a plan to acquire any extra equipment (PPE, etc.) that will be needed for the safe evacuation of shelter animals during 2020.
• Enhancing Reunification Efforts: Launching a statewide program for lost pets called “Finding Rover,” which will use facial recognition technology to reunite separated pets with their owners.
Three leading national organizations, the ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States and Petco Foundation, along with the South Carolina Animal Careand Control Association, participated in the summit as they have been critical partners in SC over the past several years.
“With six years in a row of presidentially declared disasters/emergencies in South Carolina, the odds are that we can expect another active hurricane season,” said No Kill South Carolina Director Abigail Appleton. “Charleston Animal Society has been the leader in evacuating animals during the threat of hurricanes not only in South Carolina but the Southeast.”