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Disaster Preparedness Overview


The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) is the state agency responsible for animal health emergencies and situational disasters involving both pets and livestock. BOAH is also the primary coordinating agency for Emergency Support Function 11-Agriculture and Natural Resources.  In this role, BOAH is responsible for coordinating the activities of other state agencies to ensure a unified response to disasters that require activation of the State Emergency Operations Center.

Preparing for animal emergencies and disasters requires a continuous cycle of planning, training and exercise activities.  BOAH works very closely with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture; Indiana Department of Natural Resources; Indiana State Department of Health; USDA-APHIS, Veterinary Services; district and county emergency planning and response organizations; and other partner agencies and stakeholders to develop plans for responding to animal emergencies.

Learn more about disaster preparedness in Indiana at: www.in.gov/boah/2435.htm.

Animal Issues in Disasters Training Course

The Animal Issues in Disasters course is a one-day course taught by the Indiana State Board of Animal Health staff to train local officials, first responders and potential volunteers about planning and response for animals during disasters.

Learn more at: www.in.gov/boah/2856.htm 


BOAH uses the concepts and principles of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to manage emergencies from preparedness to recovery.  NIMS was established by the Department of Homeland Security in 2004 to enable responders at all jurisdictional levels and across all disciplines to work together more effectively and efficiently.

The Incident Command System (ICS) has been established under NIMS as the standardized on-scene, organizational framework to coordinate emergency responses for all types of hazardous incidents, including animal health emergencies.  ICS defines and organizes roles and standardizes terminology.  The modular system is flexible, adaptable and orchestrates the efforts of multiple agencies from multiple jurisdictions working on multiple sites.


The Indiana State Board of Animal Health manages a roster of veterinarians, veterinary technicians and other personnel across Indiana who are part of the Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps (VMRC)/Animal Surveillance Emergency Response Team (ASERT).

In 1995, Indiana became the first state in the nation to include animals as part of the state's official emergency management plan for floods, tornadoes and other large-scale disasters. What began as the SAVE (State Annex for Veterinary Emergencies) program has evolved to today's VMRC/ASERT. This program is maintained in cooperation with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, and members may be called upon to respond to veterinary emergencies in Governor-declared disaster situations. This unique public-private partnership coordinates efforts to evacuate, rescue, treat and shelter animals in distress.


Interested in joining Indiana's VMRC/ASERT team?

VMRC/ASERT Application**
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Contact BOAH at: 317-544-2400 or animalhealth@boah.in.gov