Emergency Volunteer Rescue Team: EVRT
After the devastating "Wheeler" Fire of 1985, the Ventura County Department of Animal Services (VCAS) brought together a number of horse owners, enthusiasts and experts to form a volunteer large animal rescue group subsequently known as Emergency Volunteer Rescue Team (EVRT). Since that time there have fortunately only been a few incidents requiring activation of the group. Over the years we have lost touch with many of our original members while others have moved away or lost interest. In an effort to revitalize the group before the expected fire season is upon us, the Department, with the assistance of local E.T.I. Corrals, and a number of our founding members, is making a concentrated effort to recruit qualified volunteers.
EVRT members assist VCAS during times of disasters such as wildland fires, flooding, earthquakes, or any emergency incident requiring the evacuation of livestock. Volunteers, using their own vehicles and equipment, may be sent into disaster areas to capture and transport animals to safety, assess the needs and requirements for emergency evacuation, assist VCAS personnel in the transportation, housing, care and maintenance of temporarily displaced animals, or perform a number of clerical, dispatch, organizational or training functions in conjunction with EVRT operations.
During a State of Emergency or Local Emergency, EVRT members are considered to be Registered Animal Rescue, Care and Shelter Disaster Service Workers (DSW). As registered DSW’s, EVRT members are provided worker’s compensation coverage and limited liability protection during disaster events and when attending EVRT training, practice and planning sessions. In order to qualify for DSW status, EVRT members must, beside registering with the VCAS, be registered with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (OES). Volunteers will be required to take a loyalty oath, complete a detailed registration form and be subject to a background investigation. Upon completion of all requirements, the OES will issue picture identification to EVRT Disaster Service Workers that will allow members access to closed and restricted disaster areas.
EVRT volunteers will be issued vehicle placards, EVRT vests, and all necessary forms, inventories, logs and paperwork needed to fulfill their responsibilities. Periodic training sessions and meetings are held to keep EVRT volunteers up to date. There are essentially two classifications of EVRT Disaster Services Workers:
EVRT- DSW I
EVRT Volunteers of any age who are trained to perform some or all of the following functions and services for the Department of Animal Services during disaster incidents: Answer telephones; perform clerical duties; operate communications equipment including two-way radios, phones, amateur radios etc.; maintain written records; inventory animals, equipment and supplies; operate computer systems; order supplies; serve as liaison to other animal welfare, governmental or media agencies, groups or organizations; coordinate deployment of EVRT and Animal Services personnel; provide feed, care, oversight and maintenance of animals held for safe-keeping; provide training to Disaster Service Workers. Services may be provided from a County facility, private residence, in-field location, mobile command center, animal holding facility or other site as directed by the Department of Animal Services.
EVRT volunteers over the age of 18 who are trained to perform any of the DSW I duties and/or perform the following functions and services for the Department of Animal Services during disaster incidents: Capture and transport animals from disaster areas to specified safe areas; assist in the evacuation of persons and property during disaster incidents; working in pairs and using personal vehicles and equipment, capture and transport animals to safety; assist VCAS personnel in the performance of a variety of in-field functions.
Download: EVRT Disaster Terminology