We all worry about the threat of disaster, natural or man-made. We know that animals are especially vulnerable when disaster strikes and that many animals must rely on human intervention to ensure their safety. In 2004 New York State adopted the SART program to address its animal-related disaster response needs.
The Empire State Animal Response Team (ESART) was created through a private-public partnership to serve
as a unifying network of organizations, businesses, government agencies and individuals that support the prevention of, preparedness for, response to, and recovery from emergencies affecting animals in New York State. County Animal Response Teams are the actual responding units that are activated and deployed by county emergency management. The State Animal Response Team provides support to County Animal Response Teams through specialized training opportunities, planning guidance, additional resource coordination, and information concerning regulatory actions and best practices that may be useful to county teams. The State Animal Response Team is not a technical or field response unit.
Because disaster response begins and ends at the local level, ESART promotes and supports the creation of County Animal Response Teams (CARTs). The ability to provide rapid, professional assistance at the local level can mean the difference between a successful response and a tragedy. ESART provides assistance to county emergency managers for CART development and coordination, as well as training opportunities for CART volunteers. CART volunteers are activated by their county emergency manager to provide the initial assessment and response for animals affected by a disaster or emergency within their jurisdictions. When these resources are overwhelmed, or when specialized resources are needed, the county emergency manager can call the state emergency coordination center to activate ESART to assist in the coordination and deploy additional resources.