Hurricane Updates

Irma Update: 9/7/17 As Hurricane Irma continues its path towards Florida, we wanted to take this opportunity to share the below contact information and resources.  The latest information on Irma’s path is available on the National Hurricane Center’s site here:   http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.   Please remember that disasters begin and end locally! If you have an animal welfare need in the wake of Irma you will need to request assistance through your county emergency manager. A list of emergency managers by county, with county websites and phone numbers, is available here: http://www.floridadisaster.org/County_EM/ASP/county.asp; this information is also available in map form.   The state of Florida has already activated the  group responsible for assisting with animal welfare needs throughout disasters in the statewide Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), and requests for assistance made to county EOCs will be elevated to the state level as needed.     Anyone needing assistance with a captive wildlife issue can also reach out to their Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) captive wildlife investigator. Investigators have already been reaching out to coastal areas on the eastern side of the state and offering  assistance to facilities who need it.  If you do not have direct contact information available  you can call the main FWC Captive Wildlife Office at 850-488-6523.  Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulated facilities in south Florida have already been contacted by their inspector to assess status ahead of impact; these facilities have been instructed to communicate needs and report on the status and safety of staff and animals by calling or texting  the designated 24/7 telephone number:  919.923.0573.   We are closely monitoring this event, and welcome you to contact us if you have any questions or feel we may otherwise be of assistance to you at this time.  If you are planning to assist an impacted facility or would like to offer assistance, that information can be sent to ZAHP Fusion Center staff :  Ashley Zielinski, Yvonne Nadler, and Steve Olson. This information will be recorded to minimize duplication of efforts should an animal welfare need arise.  Additional Resources: The FEMA mobile app provides resources, weather alerts, important maps and safety tips The public can report or look for a missing person or animal here: https://pl.nlm.nih.gov/en Google Crisis Maps show public alerts, evacuation resources, and shelters.  This FEMA press release includes additional tips and information in preparation for Hurricane Irma Stay safe everyone! Harvey Update 8/28/17  I’m sure you recognize that the flooding in Texas is unprecedented; an 800-year flood.  First responders are focusing on human needs, and while many of you in the path have prepared and have so far weathered this storm, unmet needs are just now being recognized for animals in disasters.  A huge shout out to those who have already stepped up to assist facilities in need.  Locals helping locals, that is the quickest way to get things done. The ZAHP Fusion Center has been asked by the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC )to assist on a task force to assist with all […]

2017 Microgrant Recipients

Thank you to everyone who applied for our Contingency Planning Microgrants! We received strong applications representing institutions at all stages of contingency planning, and are thrilled to support 12 amazing projects from first aid training, to local planning meetings, hazmat exercises and more! Congratulations to our grant recipients: Audubon Zoo Conservators Center Dakota Zoo Detroit Zoo Jacksonville Zoo Mesker Park Zoo North Carolina Aquariums Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo Racine Zoo San Diego Zoo Save the Animals Rescue Foundation Zoo New England If you did not get to apply for this year’s grant program don’t worry, we hope to offer similar funding opportunities in the future. Check back here or join our listserv for updates!

2017 Safety Summit

In late March, the ZAHP Fusion Center participated in the Safety Summit held at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Midyear meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We are happy to share the following presentations and relevant documents with you: DHS Critical Infrastructure Risk Assessment Program (courtesy of Jeff Murray, Protective Security Advisor – Department of Homeland Security) Attendees were given an introduction to the Department of Homeland Security’s Critical Infrastructure Risk Assessment Program. Under this program Protective Security Advisors are able to assist facility owners and operators via Assist Visits and a subsequent Infrastructure Survey Tool (IST) security survey,  ultimately providing a detailed assessment of the security and resilience of a facility.  More information can be found at https://www.dhs.gov/critical-infrastructure-vulnerability-assessments , but some key point from the introduction to this program are that it is:  Completely free Voluntary and non-regulatory, i.e. you will not be reported to any regulatory agencies Protected under the Critical Infrastructure Information Act, i.e. your data will not be shared Available to facilities of all business models  Each US state and territory has at least one protective security advisor that can answer any questions you may have and help you get started with the program. You can get in touch with yours by emailing pscdoperations@hq.dhs.gov. Hurricane Matthew: Information, Coordination and Lessons Learned (courtesy of Rick Holzsworth, Safety and Security – Jacksonville Zoo)  In this session, updates will be provided on preparedness and response measures in Florida institutions for Hurricane Matthew. Conducting Complex Animal Escape Drills and Pre-Planning Events (courtesy of Anne Knapp, Director of Animal Resources and Andrea Lewicki, Administrative Assistant – Zoo New England) In this session, Zoo New England will share the process for planning a complex animal escape drill, and the lessons learned from that exercise. They will also share how they use the Incident Command System to help them organize their “Free Fun Friday” events. Hazards Drill Planning and Reporting (Courtesy of Casey Coy, Vice President of Operations – Florida Aquarium; George Peterson, Director of Dive Programs – Monterey Bay Aquarium; and Nate Fague, Director of Safety and Security – Mystic Aquarium) It’s challenging to find the time to train and exercise, but it is SO important. In this session, participants will be given tips on planning drills in your facility, some proven ways to ‘report out’ the outcomes, and some strategies for USING what you learned in the drills to improve your planning and training Panel Discussion, Forms, Tools and Resources This discussion will brought a number of Safety Committee professionals into an informal Q & A session where they will share some of the resources they have used to develop robust plans, and training programs. The resources below were provided in this discussion (please keep in mind that these are sample drill documents) :  Courtesy of Zoo New England: Drill Tactics Worksheet AI eDrill Master to share FFF 207 Org Chart FFF 204 Assignment List EF TF Courtesy of Detroit Zoo:  2017 Drill Completion Documentation – BLANK Emergency Event Reporting Form & Supervisor […]

Microgrants for Contingency Planning Available!

To promote the institutional development of contingency plans, The ZAHP Fusion Center will offer a series of micro-grants to exotic animal industry facilities to assist with their contingency planning.  Sound contingency planning requires scheduled meetings, including local planning partners, first responders and facility staff. The Fusion Center is offering to assist with individual planning by providing support (via reimbursement) for facility planning meetings and subsequent plan development.  The Fusion Center will award up to 8 – $500.00 micro-grants to assist in the planning process in the exotic animal industry.  These funds can be used for meeting expenses such as lunches (excluding alcohol), printed materials, mileage for travel, or to assist with time spent by employees in the planning process.    How to Apply To apply please complete the application and questionnaire (questions begin on page 3) . Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until all funds have been awarded or June 1, 2017, whichever comes first.   Selection criteria will be based on the following: Existing plans   Priority will be given to facilities that have the furthest to go to develop a contingency plan. Collection  Facilities with dangerous animals will be given priority.  Non-profit entities will be given priority Match to the grant Facilities are asked to describe the ‘match’ to the $500.00 grant.  This could be in the form of meals provided to participants (excluding alcohol), or staff time committed to the meeting and subsequent plan development. Cooperation and Collaboration Any proposal that would bring together two or more facilities would be given priority.  That networking with local stakeholders and similar facilities encourages local & regional collaboration with other like facilities or groups.   If Your Facility is Selected The ZAHP Fusion Center will arrange a conference call with each facility that is awarded a grant.   This will be an opportunity to clear up any questions about the award process or expectations for awardees. The facility must hold the supported meeting by July 31, 2017 to allow ample time to complete the mandatory follow up questionnaire and phone consult, and to allow for processing of reimbursement.   Reporting Requirements and Reimbursement: Requirements for receiving reimbursement will include completion of a post-meeting questionnaire, plus a phone interview with the Fusion Center. This will allow the Fusion Center to capture any additional lessons learned, gaps, or ways forward for individual planning.  Reimbursements are payable upon completion of these requirements.    Please do not hesitate to contact us via email at azielinski@aza.org if you have any questions or concerns about this opportunity.    

HPAI Surveillance Findings

As of December 4th 2015 the United States Department of Agriculture has sampled over 25,000 birds as part of their surveillance efforts.  Thus far only two samples have tested positive for HPAI, and then only at a molecular level with no virus isolated.  A report on the sampling that has occurred thus far can be found here:  July 2015 – June 2016 Wild Bird Positive Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Cases in the United States. We encourage anyone looking for more information on how surveillance is being carried out to look at the official Surveillance Plan for HPAI in Wild Waterfowl in the United States, which can be found here: Surveillance Plan for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Waterfowl in the United States.  A map of the areas being sampled is included below, with the darker areas indicating more intense surveillance.  As always, we remind you to begin conversations about outbreak response with your State Animal Health Officials before there is an actual outbreak to ensure the most positive outcome for your institution. With the holiday season now underway we ask that you keep a look out for news of HPAI in the U.S. and send us any contacts you would like added to our distribution list for email updates.    

Zoo Ready 2015

In July 2015, The Zoo Ready planning team took a departure from disease preparedness and response to address a severe weather event.  Tornadoes are a real possibility for many zoos and aquariums in the US. The realistic scenario challenged our participants by identifying different buildings on their property that sustained damage.  The University of Illinois Global Information System team developed maps for each zoo to add to the exercise realism. This scenario tested severe weather preparedness, staff communications and methods for weather alerts and updates.  Participants were challenged to think about storm shelters to protect visitors and describe what resources might be available in those storm shelters. The Situation Manual, Exercise Evaluation Guides and the After Action Report will be available soon for this exercise and will be found on the resources page of this website.

HPAI Summer Update, Potential Impacts, and Health & Safety Precautions

With the arrival of the summer season the number detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have declined considerably, the last confirmed case in poultry was reported in mid-June.  While this is certainly welcome news,  State and Federal officials are taking the threat of a fall re-emergence very seriously.  Dr. John Clifford,  Deputy Veterinary Administrator with USDA APHIS, said “the risk of the disease reemerging in the fall or the spring is significant” and  pointed to the outbreak as “the largest animal health emergency in our country’s history”.  Just this past weekend Minnesota confirmed that a chickadee collected in early June had tested positive for HPAI. This is the first time during this event that the disease has been discovered in a songbird, the exact virus strain that had affected the bird could not be identified. While this is likely a ‘spill over’ event from and infected poultry facility, this highlights the fact that the full range of species affected by these viruses is unknown. Many of you may already be aware of the actions some states are taking to protect themselves from HPAI, announcing restrictions of varying magnitude on the movement of birds within or across their borders. These types of restrictions will likely become more prevalent if we see a reemergence of HPAI in the Fall.  If you have not done so already, we strongly encourage you to contact your State Veterinarian regarding your institution’s preparation for HPAI and capabilities in the event of an outbreak in or around your facility. Last week AZA staff participated in a two-day USDA workshop focusing on coordinated response protocols in the event of a worst-case scenario outbreak of (HPAI) this Fall.  USDA is currently preparing for a large-scale pandemic that could reach all sectors of the United States this September-October. Since the beginning of 2015, over 50 million chickens (egg-layers and broilers) and turkeys have been de-populated due to HPAI and the cost of the recent outbreak has cost the Federal Government alone over $600 million. The possible effects of a full-scale outbreak on the poultry and zoological collection community could be devastating. It is imperative that exhibitors, even those without birds, consider the impact a large-scale pandemic could have on their facilities including rising feed costs and possibly declining gate sales. While preparing collections for the possibility of an outbreak it is important to remember the responsibility we have for the health and safety of facility staff.  The “Compendium of Veterinary Standard Precautions for Zoonotic Disease Prevention in Veterinary Personnel” from the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) is an excellent resource on protective measures,  and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC have a number of other resources available  to help animal care professionals prepare for a variety of biological threats.  In the case of HPAI it is also vital to consider obligations for respiratory health and protection, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to have a written respiratory protection program in any workplace where […]