When I’m not writing or blogging or playing with my kitties, I am the volunteer weather coordinator for our township’s Emergency Management Agency. Have been for about 6-7 years now. And in that capacity, I occasionally go to trainings at our county training center.
Last year, I learned about a new program called BCART, or Bucks County Animal Response Team. I was thrilled to learn that there was a group of trained people who were tasked with making sure that the awful situation that happened after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans never happened again anywhere else. This organization takes care of animals — both domestic and sometimes wild — in the event of an emergency. Sometimes during evacuations, when people don’t know how long they’ll be gone or can’t take their pets with them, and sometimes when people can’t get back to their homes and farms to take care of them during or after an emergency that has happened while they were away.
I learned about this from the BCART Coordinator, Maryann King-Hasbrouck. She gave the training presentation for this segment, and I got to meet her personally. Earlier this year, some of her colleagues exhibited for BCART at the Be Kind To Animals Week Celebration we held here in Upper Bucks. But right now, Maryann’s in the spotlight, and I wanted to share that news with you.
An EARS volunteer since 1998, Maryann is also coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team. In this capacity, she helps local organizations with their animal disaster plans and leads county animal response teams during disasters. With Bucks CART, Maryann participates in numerous disaster drills. Last October, she coordinated EARS volunteer involvement in a large, multi-county disaster drill.
When not in disaster mode, Maryann educates the public about disaster preparedness and provides useful resources, including low-cost pet micro-chipping events. She teaches pet first aid and CPR to disaster responders, and last year offered two free classes to EARS volunteers. She says, “In a disaster, many veterinary offices are closed and you may be the only one available to offer lifesaving first aid care to a pet until a vet can be reached.”
In 2005, Maryann spent a week volunteering with UAN’s Hurricane Katrina response. She currently volunteers for a local cat rescue group and is a member of the Southeast Pennsylvania Regional Task Force Animal Group. She has six cats and one dog of her own, is a trained vet tech and works full time as a registered nurse.
Let’s hear it for this selfless animal lover who understands the value of “just doing it!”