SAVEM is a Tier 2 Response and Recovery agency, deploying into all hazards emergencies in South Australia. Our Mission is to assess, rescue, triage, treat, shelter and return to owners, habitat or suitable long-term care, animals of all species.

In response to an Emergency incident where SAVEM’s veterinary expertise is required, SAVEM is Activated by Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA). PIRSA leads the Agriculture and Animal Services Functional Support Group in the South Australian State Emergency Management Plan (the SEMP). After briefings and clearance by the Control Agency (the SA Country Fire Service for bushfire) SAVEM is deployed into the incident ground according to the terms and conditions required by the Control Agency. We collaborate with other similarly accredited agencies, such as the RSPCA, to respond to animal welfare issues in-field, and on request will support and assist PIRSA’s veterinary officers in incidents involving livestock.

Depending on the size of an incident, our response can include activating our State Control Centre, Regional Coordination Centre and a Local Incident Control Centre supporting in-field activities, ultimately linked back to the State Emergency Centre in Adelaide from which the principal emergency services operate.

What we can do

  • Our Operations teams will work to retrieve, triage, treat, shelter and return animals to their owners. Arrangements will be made for animals needing longer term veterinary treatment or rehabilitation; animals that are unidentified or animals whose owners cannot be identified or located.
  • Our Planning teams will collate information from the field and plan to be one step ahead to meet the needs of field Operations teams.
  • Our Logistics teams will resource the needs of the operation – in readiness for deployment and during the response once the presence of Tier 2 responders is permitted by the Control Agency.
  • SAVEM’s volunteer veterinarians and veterinary nurses include practitioners with specialised skills to treat companion animals, wildlife, horses and livestock.

What we can’t do

  • We cannot self-activate. This goes against all the principles of Emergency Management
  • We cannot go into an emergency area BEFORE permission is given by the Control Agency
  • We cannot provide an evacuation service for pets and other animals – it is the responsibility of animal owners to include their pets and other animals in their emergency plan

SAVEM’s processes

SAVEM’s processes are aligned with:

  • the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience
  • South Australia’s Disaster Resilience Strategy 2019-2024
  • People at Risk in Emergencies Framework for South Australia
  • Animals in Emergencies Framework

SAVEM trains to systems commonly used in and understood by the Emergency Management sector in Australia. We train to the Australasian Inter-service Incident Management System™, AIIMS™, and use a PPRR (Prevention Preparedness Response Recovery) model of Emergency Management.


SAVEM Inc. is a 100% volunteer organisation. We do not have full-time or part-time staff. All functions are filled by volunteers, and all funding is obtained from Government grants, private philanthropic donors, generous service providers and donations from members of the public.

Grants from the Natural Disaster Resilience Program (the NDRP), a joint Federal and State program administered by the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission (SAFECOM), have enabled most of our core resources. Additionally, we have been fortunate to receive philanthropic contributions for specific projects, and over the last decade we have found that public donations are offered especially during emergency events.

All donations go directly to fund SAVEM response actions to assist affected animals. We publicly acknowledge these including by permanent signage on the plant and equipment these monies secure.