The UF Veterinary Emergency Treatment Service (UF VETS) team was founded following several ad hoc missions assigned to the veterinary college during the 2004 hurricane season. UF VETS is composed of volunteer veterinarians, staff, and veterinary students who provide disaster response, animal technical rescue, and animal technical rescue training. The team has assisted in hurricanes, hoarding cases, disease outbreaks, oil spills, and technical rescues involving a variety of species and emergencies.
The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is a member of the Florida State Agricultural Response Team (SART). As a “quick strike” resource, the college has been tasked to assist the state in response to animal and agricultural disasters whenever a state of emergency has been declared by the state or federal government. The team is able to be deployed to states as far away as Texas and Virginia through EMAC (Emergency Management Assistance Compact). Additionally, the team provides animal technical rescue response for emergencies within a 2-hour radius of the College.
What We Do
In partnership with the Florida Veterinary Medical Association and the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services (FDACS), the College created the UF Veterinary Emergency Treatment Service (UF VETS) in order to meet the key objectives of:
- Providing a quick assessment of the veterinary infrastructure.
- Assisting operational practices with logistical support and mutual aid.
- Establishing a self-contained veterinary care triage and aid station.
- Providing advanced technical rescue for large and small animals.
- Providing training in technical rescue and building local capacity in preparation for disasters.
Team members serve on several National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Committees in order to maintain high quality training and response standards for animal technical rescue. Through partnerships with Florida SART, the Florida State Fire College, and fire and law enforcement departments throughout the state of Florida, UF VETS provides emergency responders the training needed to respond safely to technical rescue emergencies involving animals.
The UF VETS team equipment and training is funded primarily through grants and donations.
Animal Technical Rescue Branch Director