UF VETS Disaster Response

How We Respond

Our disaster response team works in coordination with the State Agricultural Response Team (SART). Where veterinary care is needed because community resources are overwhelmed (as in cases of natural disasters, hoarding cases, etc.), the UF VETS team can be requested by first reaching out to county emergency management offices. Requests can then be made to SART and with an approved mission, the UF VETS team is able to deploy. The UF VETS team does not self-deploy. Careful coordination with our partners ensures that needs are met in the most efficient and effective manner to provide the best aid to animals in communities of need.

UF VETS Field Hospital

UF VETS Field Hospital in Key West following Hurricane Irma in 2017

Disaster Response Capabilities

The UF VETS team can provide assistance within the state and out of state in several different configurations. The team can also be requested through EMAC (Emergency Management Assistance Compact) to another state during a major disaster.

Assessment or Logistics Support Configuration

UF VETS Logistics Support

Hurricane Matthew 2016

UF VETS can deploy a rapid response assessment team consisting of a team leader, team members, three trucks, and a base camp trailer to support the team with food, shelter, and power. The team will also be able to carry sufficient fuel and water to be self-contained.

Deployable Field Hospital

UF VETS Students

DVM students providing care to a feline patient after Hurricane Irma

UF VETS can deploy a hospital team to include a team leader, patient care teams, pharmacy support, team logistics, as well as technical rescue and assessment resources, three trucks, a base camp trailer, a field hospital equipment trailer, and field hospital treatment tents. The team will also be able to carry sufficient fuel, water, and food to be self-contained. The field hospital has limited diagnostic capability (no advanced radiography or lab equipment at this time). The hospital does include gas anesthesia, basic surgery packs, autoclave, surgery lights, tables, etc. The team can work with veterinarians provided by the requesting state to reduce UF VETS personnel. Deployment of the field hospital should be in conjunction with a shelter team.


UF VETS conducts at least one full-scale animal disaster response event each year with various SART partners in different locations around the state. Training is provided to students involved in interest-related clubs at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. The team also assists in conducting disease outbreak exercises with various courses.

Infectious Disease Outbreak Lab

Students practicing decontamination during an infectious disease outbreak exercise

Training Standards

To be NIMS (National Incident Management System) compliant, all responders must complete the following trainings:

  • IS-100.c (Incident Command System 100 – Introduction to the Incident Command System)
  • IS-200.b (Incident Command System for Single Resources and Initial Actions Incidents)
  • IS-700.b (National Incident Management System – NIMS An Introduction)
  • Those who will be team leaders must also complete ICS 300.

For those who will be involved in animal response, it is recommended to complete:

  • IS-10.a (Animals in Disaster, Module A: Awareness and Preparedness)
  • IS-11.a (Animals in Disaster, Module B: Community Planning)
  • IS-111 (Livestock in Disasters)
  • IS-5.a (An Introduction to Hazardous Materials)

All of these courses, with the exception of ICS 300, are available at no cost at the FEMA Independent Study Site.

Help Support Disaster Response

UF VETS is primarily funded through grants and donations. Supplies, equipment, generators, tents, trailers, air conditioners, and trucks must be maintained to ensure that we are prepared to deploy during a disaster.

Donate here to support future missions.