RIVER MURRAY RESPONSE – PREPARING TO SUPPORT THE HUMAN-ANIMAL BOND
SAVEM was activated in mid-November as a Participating Organisation to support other agencies in flood response. As noted in other posts, the early focus has been on professional veterinary animal welfare advice for animals impacted by the rising River Murray. While the systems and processes SAVEM uses are common to all hazards, a major flood response has its own incident-specific requirements – particularly in the 2022 River Murray response with respect to PPE/PPC, supplied materiel and team structure.
As this relatively slow-moving flood event continues, its impacts expand across more sectors. As we train our volunteers in SAVEM Level 1, Emergency Management (Prevention, Preparedness, Response, Recovery – PPRR) is not compartmentalised, but is an open-ended continuum. It is important to be mindful of recovery superimposed on response.
In the South Australian State Emergency Management Plan (SEMP), the Relief function is managed by Housing SA. Their focus is the establishment of relief centres to support impacted communities. Families of course come with a wide range of ‘dependents’. The Red Cross information about emergency events includes extensive information to families about the safety and wellbeing of their companion animals. This is even more important where the animal is for ‘assistance’ to the human – in effect the person and their assisting animal are one inseparable unit.
In accordance with the SEMP, and consistent with the Coordinate, Command and Control protocols also taught in SAVEM Level 1, Housing SA have asked PIRSA to activate support for animals belonging to flood-affected families. This includes arranging pre-booked boarding in the same way that Housing SA reserves housing for displaced families, and this PIRSA has done. SAVEM and some other PIRSA Participating Organisations (PO’s) – AWL and RSPCA – have all contributed to providing support materiel to family companion animals. SAVEM is pleased to have made available a stock of (large and very large dog sized) collapsible portable crates. As the flood response continues we expect to continue to think anew on the diversity of tasks that assist animal welfare.
Emilis Prelgauskas, SAVEM Logistics officer.
Photos: SAVEM and DEW vehicles and Goanna, taken by Steve Selwood