We sent the following email today to members regarding the AVMA’s involvement in relief efforts related to Hurricane Sandy. If you didn’t receive this email, it might be because we don’t have your most current email address. You can check and update your email in our Email Subscription Center.
Dear AVMA Members,
Even with the news coverage of the devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy, it is difficult for many of us to gauge the impact of the storm on our colleagues all along the East Coast. Living and practicing in New York State, I can attest to some of the challenges being faced. Electricity to my practice was just restored Monday morning; the power to my house should be back by Friday.
Rest assured that the AVMA and the AVMF remain dedicated to assisting all of those in need of support and relief from Hurricane Sandy. Disaster preparedness, coordination and response are a 24/7/365 concern for us and our Emergency Preparedness and Response Department.
We would like to provide you with a brief update on the status of the AVMA’s preparedness and response efforts with respect to Hurricane Sandy. For updates on the situation and for easy access to resources available, visit:
- The AVMA@Work blog
- The AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams Twitter Feed
- The American Veterinary Medical Foundation Website
- The AVMA Professional Liability Insurance Trust
- The AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust
The AVMA and the AVMF, as members of the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition, are participating in daily update calls with coalition members, affected states, federal agencies and the National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs. These calls provide valuable information about preparation and response activities, and help coordinate efforts across the numerous organizations and governmental agencies involved.
As Sandy neared the East Coast, we reached out to state veterinary medical associations and the District of Columbia, letting them know that the AVMA was available to provide support if needed. Following landfall, we received a request from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Animal Care Emergency Programs and assisted them by providing information about the impacts on the veterinary infrastructure to allow for coordination of resources and supplies. We contacted 13 veterinary medical associations in states most impacted by the storm, and we remain in contact with them today, available to render any type of assistance they may need.
State veterinary response efforts are in full swing, and the states are doing a tremendous job managing animal rescue and sheltering issues. The AVMA’s Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams are on standby and are available to assist the states if needed. Any request for VMAT veterinary assistance would originate from a state’s animal-health authority. Just this past weekend, AVMA VMAT 2 Commander Dr. Patty Klein provided assistance at the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., on Animal Multi-Agency Coordination efforts.
To date, New York and New Jersey are the most severely impacted. We have offered assistance to the state VMAs with things such as communications to their members and establishing temporary web pages for them, and we have also provided them with information about the AVMF Disaster Grant Program. As the recovery process continues and communications are restored, we anticipate there will be significant needs among veterinarians in New York and New Jersey, and we continue to monitor the situation and coordinate efforts to support affected veterinarians.
Additionally, we continue to receive and coordinate offers of donations, providing a link between the donors and the organizations coordinating resource requests.
We also continue to remind those affected by the storm of the availability of American Veterinary Medical Foundation Disaster Grants. The AVMF is ready to help veterinarians hit by the storm and those who provide medical care to the animal victims. But they can’t do it alone. Should you wish to support your fellow veterinarians and the animals they serve who have been directly impacted by this disaster, please consider making a donation today and encourage your clients to join you in supporting the animals we help. You can also download resources for your practice to use in building awareness of and financial support for our efforts.
If you have needs related to storm damage, or if you know of someone who has been affected and requires assistance, please contact Dr. Cheryl Eia, AVMA’s Coordinator of Emergency Preparedness and Response, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Cheri Kowal, AVMF Programs and Impact Manager, at email@example.com. We are linked with many local, regional, state and federal response coordinators who can help us help you.
Recovery is a long, often painful, process. But we will come out of this stronger and more dedicated to our profession, and the animals and people we serve. The team effort already exhibited by so many people from every walk of life is indicative of the American spirit of cooperation and proof that we always rise to the occasion. As veterinarians, I am exceedingly proud that we are a playing a part in helping so many get back on their feet.
Yours in veterinary medicine,
Doug Aspros, DVM