software helping with disaster dispatch

August 31, 2017

I’m not a fan of self-deployed volunteers during a disaster. In general, they are ill trained, get in the way, and usually end up needing to be rescued themselves.

I have to make an exception for the CONCEPT of the Cajun Navy. While I don’t see a lot of PPE and safety equipment, they are VERY organized and think out of the box.

One such thought was to tweak existing open source software to use for calling up resources:


Dealing with Harvey…

August 30, 2017

Over the next few days, weeks, maybe even months, I am going to collect my thoughts, my findings, helpful information, things to think about for next time- because there is always a next time- regarding Harvey.  As my background is in emergency management, there will be a lot of reference to how things went down from an EM point of view.

I have stopped thinking about Harvey as a 6 foot 3-1/2 inch tall white rabbit, the best friend of Elwood P. Dowd.  I will stop thinking about Jimmy Stewart…

Before I start my journey down the rabbit hole, so to speak, I want to share a beautifully written blog post, by Angelia.  I don’t know her, a friend posted this blog post on FB.  And here, I share it:
The Good Think Harvey Washed Away

Thinking ahead and getting money

February 11, 2014

While the Eastern half of the country prepares for another round of winter (and we note that the Nashville area, yet again, gets a cold blast, but still has NO SNOW… just bare brown ground- grrrr), WE can be working on emergency/disaster preparedness.

Honestly, I’m not a doomsday prepper. I’ve just been through, or watched friends and family go through, enough disasters to realize the benefits of preparation.

There are courses on emergency prep through Coursera (Disaster Preparation, through the University of Pittsburgh:

More information through FEMA:

Independent study courses through FEMA:

More and specialized courses through your local/state Emergency Management Agency – for example, how to read a map/GPS; basics of Search & Rescue; information on how to join or put together a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) or a Community Animal Response Team (CART).

One of my favorites, and this should be REQUIRED for ALL emergency personnel: Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue ( or their facebook page:

Some states, like Ohio have new regulations:

And there are new grants available:

ASPCA has a small bridge loan for emergency program-related expenses of $50,000-$250,000:

ASPCA also has an Emergency and Disaster Response Grant of up to $50,000:

So while most are pouring over seed catalogs, I’ll be working on updating my information, making sure my equipment is clean and working (or consider investing in new equipment), seeing where I can help my local EMA.

Oh… and I’m looking at seed catalogs too 🙂

Grants available-

January 16, 2014

I am updating this blog post for applicability to Hurricane Harvey, and to add/remove grant makers as needed.  There is also information in here that is applicable to those recovering from wild fires, earlier floods, etc.
~Vivi 8/31/17

Harvey/disaster specific grant makers:

  1. (ASPCA emergency/disaster grant, includes the hay support grant mentioned below)
  2. (all animals)
  3. (specifically for shelters- they are doing Harvey grants)
  4. (fabulous grantmaker, but has to go through/to a qualifying organization- I have worked with my local Animal Control to get petsmart donations for disaster relief before).
  5. (active Harvey supply drive in Lexington)
  6. (emergency horse feed assistance)
  7. (The AVMF provides several grants each year to veterinarians, Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams (VMAT), state and national organizations for reimbursement, relief, disaster planning, training, and response efforts. We are committed to raising funds to go directly towards the Animal Disaster Relief and Response efforts.)
  8. (disaster assistance for farms, ranches, etc)
  9. (general information and links for farming/ranching assistance)
  10. (the Harvey specific programs may not have been released yet)
  11. (pays for 75% of average fair market value for livestock killed by weather or attacks by animals re-introduced to the wild)
  12.  WILLIE … need I say more.  Love this guy for all he does for farmers.

I want to thank my friends Sarah Barnett, at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and Rebecca Gimenez, Director and head instructor of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, Inc.  (TLAER, Inc.)- she LITERALLY wrote the book on Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue for all sorts of situations, for this pretty darned extensive list of grants:

FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR GRANTS – Don’t say that we don’t try to help you make it happen… LOL! here are a few that you might want to check out… updated as of 8/2017.

1) The ASPCA Equine Fund provides grants to non-profit, equine welfare organizations in the United States for efforts related to horse protection. Grant info is available at:

2) ASPCA Emergency Hay Support Grants are available for 501c(3) rescues that have been hit hard by rising hay prices. In 2008, ASPCA equine-related grants totaled more than $500,000 and were distributed in 40 states. To apply, go to

3) The Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation provides support for animals in domestic pet programs including animal welfare foundations, pet rescue and rehabilitation organizations, therapeutic and humane education pet programs. For more information, a pdf document is available at

4) The Brennan Equine Welfare Fund assists equine rescue shelters across the country that provide dignity to aged, injured, abused, starved and slaughter-bound horses, as well as those used in medical experimentation. This fund supports registered, 501(c) (3) organizations that specialize in retirement and rehabilitation services and offer a peaceful and permanent sanctuary for horses. Shelters which offer carefully scrutinized adoption and replacement services are also supported. To apply, go to and click on “Grant Proposals.” (For additional information the 2015 contact was Linda Pavey at (513) 561-5251 or

5) The Equus Foundation raises public awareness in the value of horses through education and awards of grants to charities that illustrate the benefit of horses, promote equine welfare, and elevate equestrian sports. Visit

6) The Foundation Center is an excellent source of information for various kinds of potential funders. They offer an extensive SEARCHABLE database on U.S .grant makers as well as training programs (some are free while others are fee-based) covering all aspects of fundraising. They also publish a guide for foundations interested in funding environment- and animal welfare-related organizations. Locations are available in libraries across the country.

7) The Petco Foundation Grant was established in 1999 and since then, has raised and distributed more than $34 million through fundraisers and donations. To be eligible, local organizations must enlist the support of their local Petco store. For more information, go to or call 626-287-0952.

8) PetSmart Charities awards grants to 501c(3) animal welfare organizations. For more information on grant applications and guidelines, go to

9) AAEP Foundation accepts equine specific funding requests that are dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Funds are awarded to those requests that have the most impact on a national and/or international level.

10) Equine Protection Fund The Trail’s End program subsidizes some veterinary fees and disposal costs for humanely euthanizing suffering horses and other equines. To qualify, low-income horse owners must have verification from a licensed veterinarian. Emergency feed assistance is available to horse owners who have incurred temporary financial difficulty (job loss, medical emergency, foreclosure, etc.) within the past 6 months. The also provide assistance for gelding.

11) Heart of a Horse The Heart of a Horse Foundation will provide a grant for farms, fellow non-profits associated with horses (rescue, therapy, community outreach) and individual horse owners needing support and assistance obtaining medicine. Horses are being slaughtered and put down for reasons otherwise handled by proper treatment and medicine; this grant will help rectify these cases.

12) The following are “libraries” of grantmakers specific to animals, welfare, etc: (animal welfare, multiple sites listed) (large “library” of grant makers & resources) (another library of animal rescue grants, mostly dealing with sheltering). (“member” list of animal grantmakers)

Programs directed specifically to Thoroughbred rescues or sanctuaries

13) After the Finish Line provides funding assistance to rescue organizations devoted to caring for Thoroughbred ex-racehorses and broodmares. They provide both grants and emergency funds to qualified Thoroughbred rescue and retirement organizations located throughout the United States. For more information on this grant program, go to:

14) Blue Horse Charities was formed in 2001 to assist organizations that provide Thoroughbred racehorse retraining and adoption, and the emphasis is to keep all Thoroughbreds out of the hands of “killer buyers.” For more information or to fill out a grant application, go to:

15) The mission of Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) is to “provide a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers, by supporting retirement, rescue and research and by helping the people who work with them.” This enables TCA to offer equine grants for Thoroughbred rescue, rehabilitation, retraining, adoption, retirement and euthanasia. For more information, visit:

16) CARMA is dedicated to the goal of providing funding for the rehabilitation, retraining and/or retirement of Thoroughbred horses that have raced in California.

Severe Weather preparedness

December 21, 2013
  • TN, AL, MS, Northern GA, KY, AR- we are all in the “greatest threat” for severe weather today. MAKE PLANS now… Here are some ideas (not a complete list):

    1) gather up a “go bag” of essentials- a spare set of keys, identification for every member of your household, some cash/credit cards, water & food, CLOSED TOED SHOES (preferably with heavy soles that will protect your feet from sharp objects), warm clothes or layers, prescription medicines and other IMPORTANT belongings – these all need to be things you can carry with you. Each person should have his/her own bag, and heads of households should have IDs or copys of IDs for everyone. DON’T FORGET YOUR INSURANCE PAPERS. Also, don’t forget to keep cell phones and tablets charged, carry spare charging cables so you can re-charge at a shelter or where-ever you might end up.
    2) INCLUDE all identifying information about your pets- go out right now and take photos of your pets, include any special markings.
    3) put together “go bags” for your pets- carriers, some food, water, any medicines, proof of ownership.
    4) Livestock- I always make sure my livestock is NOT IN THE BARN (in 2008 we had to deal with horses in barns that had barns collapse on them after the tornado- or that looked like voodoo dolls due to the explosion of the barn). Make sure you have all your livestock papers with identifying marks noted, so you can prove ownership after a disaster. Livestock markers will help.
    5) If you have trailers for your livestock, load them with spare halters, corral panels, tools, other equipment. You’ll need to be able to “Fence in” your animals if a disaster strikes (and remember, your “regular” fencing may be destroyed).
    6) Here are some websites for disaster prepping:
    FEMA (remember folks, FEMA provides assistance for state and local governments in order that infrastructure can be in place for YOUR personal recovery):
    Some info on disaster prepping for cats:
    Ounces of prevention survival ideas:

    LAST BUT NOT LEAST… talk with your family about meeting places. If you get separated, how will you re-connect? Does everyone have a cell phone? Does everyone know how to text (often cell towers are damaged in disasters, but texting can go through)? Do you have friends/family in another state, that’s not in the danger zone, who can act as a message center? That way, your reunion efforts can be coordinated outside of the disaster area.

    Go take pictures of your property, house and belongings NOW, prior to any disaster. It will make it a LOT easier to prove losses AFTER a disaster. Keep a charged camera in your go bag. Before you start clean up, photograph the damage. I’ve seen instances where insurance did not pay because by the time the adjuster got there, it was cleaned up with no proof of damage.
    These are just some preliminary ideas. Look to FEMA’s site and Red Cross site for more detailed disaster preparedness ideas.

    Best of luck and hope everyone has a safe Solstice!

Hickman County, TN- Wrigley Plant Fire

December 19, 2013

HICKMAN COUNTY RESIDENTS, who’ve been evacuated:
Heard back from Humane Society of The United States: got the message to the IC (Incident Command) about the pets that were not evacuated (due to folks being at work and not allowed home)-they’re going to see if/what they can do. The issue isn’t the air quality apparently, but rather the concern about the propane tanks exploding. HSUS is also asking they (Emergency Management) give out contact phone number that people can call if they have animals left behind.

Please Keep an eye on the local news. EMA will most likely post info there or through Red Cross. You may also want to register with Red Cross & the Shelter in Centerville, so they can reach you if there are changes or someone can bring you your dogs/needs a key to get them. Remember, the news only comes on at certain times of the day, so registering with the appropriate agencies will increase your chances of being contacted about your pet. Livestock folks… This applies to you too.

Colorado Floods, Animal Evacuation update

September 15, 2013

Colorado Floods, Animal Evacuation update

This link is a good source for information about animal evacuations.  This is mostly for Coloradans, as it lists the shelters that accept animals, what to do if you were forced to evacuate without your animals (say if you were at work and couldn’t get home), and information about Large Animal Rescue. 

How to help Colorado

September 15, 2013

How to help Colorado

The link, attached, is for Help Colorado Now, per their website: is a partnership between the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) and Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (COVOAD). This initiative brings together government agencies and non-profit organizations so they may better assist communities affected by disasters.

This website has all sorts of great information regarding legitimate organizations to send money, how to properly help, how to deal with gifts in kind (i.e., what sort of none monetary donations are appropriate). 


Colorado Flood information

September 15, 2013

Colorado Flood information

I watch, feeling fairly helpless, as friends are evacuated and forever changed by the current flooding in Colorado.  My training- and yes, I’m finally getting training for Disaster Preparedness and Large Animal Emergency Rescue- is not completed yet, not that it would help.  I’m not in a call up area.  I’ve learned so much from the courses I’ve taken so far- such as DO NOT DEPLOY to a disaster unless you’re called up.  The last thing the disaster needs are too many people wanting to help but not having anything to do. 

What I CAN do, is get information out.  For those of you wanting more information about the flooding, I’m including a link to the local Denver news Facebook Page. 

Heroic Oklahoma First Responders- By Michele De Vinney Schmoll, of Horse Evacuations East

July 11, 2013

Tornadoes are a horrible thing to go through, as a human… and for animals it can be even more frightening ~ Many animals were lost in the terrible EF-5 tornado that devastated rural Oklahoma, an area where horses and livestock were very common. The story, that Michele has written here, reminds me of the first few days after our EF-3 tornado in 2008, except that the Oklahoma situation was much, MUCH, worse.
Please, if you are involved with livestock, with horses, with animals in general, get involved with a some sort of legitimate animal first response team. TLAER ( is a good place to get training ~ Horse Evacuations East is a great Facebook Group (, and United States Equine Rescue League, another one of Michele’s organizations, is another great organization to get involved with ( Here’s Michele’s story (note, to go on, click on the part II and then part III at the bottoms of the pages):