Volunteer for the California Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps

November/December 2009 California Veterinarian

In California, health professionals and other citizens must plan for frequent wildfires, floods, earthquakes, and other disasters.

The CVMA Disaster Response Program, a network of volunteer veterinarians throughout California who donate veterinary care for treating and sheltering evacuated and rescued animals during disasters, has played an important role in preparing for and responding to disasters since 1994.

As of May 22, 2009, we are pleased that the CVMA’s disaster response program now operates under the California Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps (CAVMRC) so that the program can be more in line with the state volunteer structure.

We are seeking volunteers! Anyone on the veterinary practice team can participate – veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, office managers and all support staff members, students in veterinary medical programs, and retired veterinary professionals with a current license. The CAVMRC provides veterinary professionals with the training and credentialing necessary to support animal health and public health emergency response.

Benefits of Joining the CAVMRC

• Training opportunities (most with CE credits) that allow you to strengthen your personal skills to better serve your practice, your community and our state!

• Updates from CAVMRC and state agencies concerning information and events pertaining to general and animal health emergency issues.

• “Fast track” into disaster deployment at the local and state levels based on pre-credentialing and affiliation.

• Networking and information sharing opportunities with veterinary team members across the state.

• Frameable certificates for all active members who have completed introductory training, suitable for display to clients.


Unit Membership and Training Requirements

Required training: AllCAVMRC members are required to train/certify in NIMS/SIMS 100 and 700 and Animals in Disaster Modules A and B.

Recommended training: Recommended training for CAVMRC members includes an annual update of the ICS 100 course and training in NIMS/SIMS modules 300, 500, and 800.

All courses can be completed online or in a classroom setting.

Unit Membership

CAVMRC personnel who have completed the required trainings and have submitted the CAVMRC Unit Application through will be considered regular CAVMRC Unit members. Additional categories of members may be established in the future for credentialing purposes.

CAVMRC personnel who have not completed all required trainings, but have submitted the CAVMRC Unit Application and CAVMRC Volunteer Agreement will be considered “trainees” and are asked to complete the basic training requirements within 6 months.

For credentialing purposes, all members and trainees will be classified as:

1. Veterinarians (licensed in California)

2. Veterinary technicians (licensed in California)

3. Veterinary support personnel (for all others)


Unit members may be asked to submit evidence of education, licensing and certification for credentialing purposes. Unit members may also undergo criminal background checks through the California Bureau of Investigation.

All three of the courses along with many others are available in your community and online at or through the Train-MRC.


Deployment is always voluntary. CAVMRC personnel may be deployed one of three general ways:

1. By local emergency management to provide veterinary and public health support in emergency situations.

2. By the State Veterinarian in an animal health emergency or other state-level incident where veterinary personnel are needed.

3. CAVMRC members may also sign up for the National Animal Health Emergency Response Corps (NAHERC) for deployment as paid temporary USDA employees during an emergency event in the United States or even in support of other nations! CAVMRC members will receive information on signing up for NAHERC.


How to Join the CAVMRC

If you are interested in joining the CAVMRC, register at the Disaster Healthcare Volunteers (DHV) website: At that website, fill out the form and then check “YES” where it asks if you would like to be contacted and provided with information about joining a Medical Reserve Corps Team. It will then ask you which MRC and you should select the California Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps.

If you would like to register but are experiencing difficulties, send an email to the CAVMRC Unit Coordinator, Grant Miller, DVM at and he will get the information to DHV. You may also call him at 916-649-0599 for more information.

Once registered with the CAVMRC you can go to and sign up to register to receive email updates from the national Medical Reserve Corps as well.

Remember, the whole veterinary practice team can join the California VMRC!

CAVMRC Mission The California Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps program provides veterinary professionals with the training and credentialing necessary to support animal health and public health emergency response.

The CVMA registered the CAVMRC as a unit of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) under the California Emergency Medical Services Agency. The California MRC is coordinated administratively by the CVMA. Multiple agencies support the program, including:

• California Veterinary Medical Foundation

• California Department of Food and Agriculture

• California Disaster Health Care Volunteers

• UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

• Western University College of Veterinary Medicine

• California Department of Public Health

• California Emergency Management Services Authority

• US Department of Agriculture


(For more information on Medical Reserve Corps visit

Foundation Prepares for Disasters Support the California Veterinary Medical Foundation (CVMF) so funds are ready to aid animals caught in disasters. The CVMF is devoted to helping animals in California, especially during disasters. The Foundation is completely funded by donations.

The CVMF works with the CVMA Disaster Preparedness Committee by providing funds for:

• Disaster awareness and preparedness for the public and the veterinary community.

• Reimbursement for medical supplies and treatment of animals injured in disasters.


The CVMF is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt corporation organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Therefore, donations to this Foundation are tax-deductible as a charitable donation.

To make your donation, go online at or send a check to: California Veterinary

Medical Foundation, 1400 River Park Drive, Suite 101, Sacramento, CA 95815.

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