Cape Cod DART seeks emergency volunteers
Cape Cod Disaster Animal Response Team (CCDART) will begin a six-week basic responder class on Saturday, March 29 at the Dennis Police Station. CCDART, which is comprised solely of volunteers, works closely with the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) in the event of an emergency or disaster here on the Cape.
CCDART was created in 2008 in response to the Federal Pets Act of 2006. The act was an amendment to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act which made it mandatory for state and local preparedness plans to acknowledge and address the needs of citizens with household pets and service animals in the event of a disaster or emergency.
According to a BCREPC release, qualifying jurisdictions must address the needs of pet owners in order to remain eligible for FEMA reimbursements.
The act was put into law after it became evident that pet owners did not seek emergency assistance or go to shelters where their animals would not be welcomed, according to BCREPC.
In the event of a declared emergency, BCREPC may call upon CCDART to provide rescue, triage and temporary sheltering for household pets. CCDART volunteers might also be prevailed upon to transport animals to the vet or alternate boarding facilities. BCREPC is made up of police, fire, health and municipal representative from all but one town on the Cape (Falmouth) and Nantucket. BCREPC is responsible for opening and running the seven shelters across the Cape and Nantucket, most of which accept pets.
The course begins on Saturday, March 29 and will be held each Saturday for six weeks from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Dennis Police Station, 90 Bob Crowell Road in South Dennis.
Volunteers need only share a love and concern for animals. A volunteer application and handbook is available on the CCDART website here. Applicants are asked to review the handbook and sign page 8 after reading the “release of liability” information on page 7. The completed application, signed page 8 and a check made out to CCDART (non-refundable, tax-deductible training fee) must be mailed to CCDART, PO Box 325, West Barnstable, MA 02668 or brought to the first class on March 29. If you are bringing your application to class, please arrive by 2:15 p.m. Volunteers must pass a CORI check.
More information is available on the CCDART website or by calling 508-737-9467.
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