Disaster Preparedness

A disaster can occur with little or no warning. In the panic that ensues, animals often are left behind to fend for themselves, imprisoned in abandoned homes or wandering aimlessly, lost, hungry, possibly injured, and frightened. The single most common reason people return to an evacuated disaster site is to rescue pets that have been left behind. A significant number of pet owners have a strong desire to save their pets, often putting themselves and emergency personnel at risk to do so.

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies is a collaborating organization in the Virginia State Animal Response Team (VASART), formed to support Virginia in disaster preparedness, response and recovery for the benefit of animal and public health safety.  To read more about VASART, click here.

In its role as a participant in VASART, VFHS seeks to have its member organizations and other animal welfare volunteers support the development of Community Animal Response Teams. CART members can include animal shelter workers, animal control officers, sheriff's personnel, veterinarians and veterinary technicians, and other concerned citizens.  VFHS also seeks volunteers who wish to be trained to participate in the Virginia Emergency Operations Center (VEOC), managed by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Responsibilities in the VEOC will include responding to pet sheltering inquiries and requests for resources.  If you want to get involved, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For links to disaster preparedness resources, please click here.