What is a Disaster Animal Response Team (DART)?
Tennessee Disaster Animal Response Team is a state-wide program under the authority
of the State Veterinarian, Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The DART program
was created in the 1990's, but has been expanded since both Sept. 11 and Hurricane
Katrina have occurred. These 2 events showed deficiencies in emergency response
in regards to responding to needs of animals. HC-DART was developed collaboratively
by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department and UT Extension-Hamilton County
in 2006. It has since become a Tennessee Homeland Security District 3 DART team
that assists during large-scale emergencies impacting animals throughout the 11
counties comprising District 3.
Contact J.C. Rains with the Bledsoe County UT Extension. J.C.
will sign you up for the training class and talk to you about how
to complete the online training to become a member of the HC-DART.
DARTs are made up of credentialed persons who can enter critical
areas during an emergency involving animals. These individuals can
range from veterinarians and vet technicians to interested animal
lovers with some type of experience with animals (livestock, exotic,
and/or companion animals).
Becoming credentialed involves half day training at the UT-Extension
office off of Bonny Oaks Drive in Chattanooga. In addition to the
classroom training, there are some online courses from the Federal
Emergency Management Agency that can be done at your own pace. The
online training focuses on the Incident Command System (ICS), which
details who's in charge during an emergency and how we would all
work together during that time.