The Veterinary Emergency Response Team at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is a volunteer organization of faculty and staff veterinarians, veterinary technicians and veterinary students that provides training on veterinary emergency and disaster response, as well as field veterinary services to animals injured during disasters.
The University of California Davis-Veterinary Emergency Response Team (UCD-VERT) can provide veterinary care at emergency animal shelters (at shelter facilities or shelter-in-place), as well as assist animal search and rescue teams. To request assistance from UCD-VERT, it is important to understand that UCD-VERT is activated by the Yolo County Office of Emergency Services (OES). Office of Emergency Services or Animal Control Offices from other Counties and State Agencies may request UCD-VERT Teams directly by contacting the Yolo County OES. Agencies with mutual aid agreements can forward a request directly to Yolo County OES. Other agencies and private parties can expedite a request for the UCD-VERT veterinary teams, by placing a request to the Office of Emergency Services or Sheriff’s Office of the jurisdiction where the animals are located. Then the requests will be forwarded to Yolo County OES. Requests for aid should not go through the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital or the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis.
Historically, the primary role of UCD-VERT had been training veterinary students and first responders. Over the years, however, UCD-VERT has responded to several incidents and disasters, including floods and fires in California, and even outside of California. In recent years, UCD-VERT has responded to major California wildfires including the 2017 Tubbs Fire, 2018 Camp Fire, 2019 Kincade Fire, and 2020 LNU Complex Fire.
The UCD-VERT activities fall under the mission of the University of California, which is teaching, research and service. The UCD-VERT provides seminars and workshops on disaster preparedness, disaster response, and rescue methods to individuals and agencies involved with animals. The research component involves science-based studies to develop protocols for integrated emergency and disaster response, development of equipment used in rescue, and to create local and national guidelines for care of animals in emergencies and disasters.