The mission of the Veterinary Response Team (VRT) is to improve the health and safety of the communities across the county by organizing and utilizing public health, medical and other volunteers. The VRT strives to prevent, promote and protect the greatest number of companion animals, livestock, and working/service animals and people of Lake County, Ohio during emergencies in compliance with the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Act (PETS) of 2006. Members of the VRT will be trained to handle the Four Phases of Emergency Management: Preparedness, Response, Recovery, and Mitigation.
What is the Lake County VRT:
The Lake County VRT is a volunteer group that brings veterinarians, veterinarian technicians, public health officials and other support personnel. Volunteers are trained and credentialed prior to the disaster to provide rapid response where needed. A key function of the VRT is to provide volunteers with specialized training and preparation.
Who is eligible to join the VRT:
We are looking for licensed veterinary professionals who can provide basic support services during emergencies, events, exercises, and drills for animals. This includes but is not limited to: licensed veterinary professionals, non-licensed volunteers who volunteer with animals, public health professionals, and emergency medical personnel.
What training is needed to become a VRT volunteer?
Newly registered VRT volunteers are required to complete a series of 12 modules plus Hazardous Material (Hazmat) and Hazmat operations with animals. In addition to these specialized trainings, volunteers are responsible for taking ICS (Incident Command System) 100 and 700 introductory courses. These courses are taken on-line or are provided as an in class training once a year.
Is there liability protection available for VRT volunteers?
Yes. Ohio Revised Code 121.404:
Provides liability protection to registered Medical Reserve Corp (VRT volunteers are covered under this code also) volunteers during local, state or federally declared emergencies, disasters, drills, exercises and trainings and exempts a registered volunteer’s personal information from public disclosure.
This protection does not include the provision of any court fees, nor does it cover workman’s compensation.
How does the registration process work?
For volunteers who want to join the Lake County VRT unit, contact the unit coordinator to set up an orientation:
Cathy Bevan, MRC and VRT Coordinator
Lake County General Health District
One Victoria Square, Ste. 125
Painesville, Ohio 44077
Phone (440) 350-2442
The orientation will last 45-60 minutes and you will need to complete registration forms, register on Ohio Responds, and have a photo taken for a volunteer ID badge