Disaster Animal Response Teams

Disaster Animal Response Teams

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, working with other agencies and non-governmental organizations, is maintaining preparedness to respond to disasters. By coordinating the efforts of credentialed responders, as well as registered volunteers, the Disaster Animal Response Team (DART) is an integral part of animal disaster preparedness and response. For further information, contact the State Veterinarian's office at (615) 837-5120 or use the resources below.

Animal Emergency Assistance Information

All requests for animal care assistance from the state should be directed to local emergency agencies, which will in turn notify the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency through the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).  The SEOC can be reached 24 hours at (615) 741-0001.  Requests from the county are forwarded to the appropriate agency for a response.  When a request for assistance is made, it is evaluated based on the state’s capabilities and availability of resources.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is responsible for providing support for animal care and housing, including coordinating the deployment of qualified relief workers and organizations.  To ensure the safety of the public and animals, only qualified, credentialed workers will be allowed to work in affected areas as directed through the State Emergency Operations Center.


For further information, contact the State Veterinarian's office at (615) 837-5120 or follow the links below.

Incident Command System (ICS) Training

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) offers DART training statewide to qualify individuals to assist in emergency or disaster situations. DART members can be qualified on two levels, either that of a Registered Volunteer or that of a Credentialed Responder. The DART training is open to veterinarians, veterinary technicians, extension personnel, animal control officers, animal owners, livestock producers, animal interest group members, and any volunteers with experience or an interest in assisting in the care of animals during an emergency.

Registered Volunteers should attend TDA Disaster Animal Response Team (DART) classroom training and sign the TN DART Code of Conduct. Having completed this level of TN DART training, Registered Volunteers are encouraged to further their training to the credentialed level by completing Incident Command System (ICS) courses 100, 200, 700 and 800. Completion of these courses is necessary to complete the current federal National Incident Management System (NIMS) requirements for credentialing. However, should you choose to remain a Registered Volunteer you may serve as a member of your local DART.

Credentialed Responders are required, in addition to attending TDA Disaster Animal Response Team (DART) classroom training and signing the TN DART Code of Conduct, to complete IS-100.b, IS-200.b, IS-700.a and IS-800.b and submit the certificates of completion of these courses. The TEMP also recommends completion of IS-10, IS-11, IS-111 and IS-811. The following website is available for you to take the ICS courses online: http://training.fema.gov/IS/crslist.asp. There is an examination at the end of the course and, upon completion of the exam, print the certificate and send a copy to:

Dr. Whitnie Smartt,  Whitnie.smartt@tn.gov

Tennessee Department of Agriculture
Disaster Animal Response Coordinators
P.O. Box 40627
Nashville, TN  37204

Link to courses: http://training.fema.gov/IS/NIMS.asp

Continuing Education: In order to maintain interest and to increase the knowledge of emergency management, a series of modules have been developed by FEMA, the topics include: IS-10 & IS-11 Animals in Disasters, Module A & B, IS-111 Livestock in Disasters; IS-5 An Introduction to Hazardous Material & IS-22 Are You Ready. These are all encouraged but not required. Any credentialed person can take the modules.

For information about scheduled training or to schedule training in your area, please contact the State Veterinarian's office at (615) 837-5120.

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