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Managing animals in disasters (MAID) : the experiences of emergency services personnel in supporting animals and their owners in disasters
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by M Taylor, G Eustace, Bradley SmithBradley Smith, Kirrilly ThompsonKirrilly Thompson, R Westcott, P Burns
This paper details an initial exploratory study undertaken as part of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHRC) Managing Animals in Disasters (MAiD) project. Data to inform the scoping phase of this project are being collected via a number of small-scale studies with key groups. The aims of this initial study were to assess attitudes towards operational responsibility for animals and to scope the range and extent of challenges faced by emergency services personnel in their interactions with animals and animal owners in the context of disasters. The goal was to gather the views and experiences of a broad cross-section of emergency services personnel operating across Australia across all hazards. During the period May-July 2014 data were collected from 117 emergency services personnel. Around one third of responders reported occasional or recurring issues with animals and their owners, and a further 23% felt these issues were significant/frequent or severe. The main issues noted were in the areas of logistics, unclear policy, interaction with owners during response, the physical management and rescue of animals, and inter-agency coordination. Over half the sample reported details of such experiences; these were coded and are discussed in the context of future resilience-enabling emergency management.