This course will familiarize you with the specific skills, actions and Core Competencies required of all disaster response volunteers, as well as the basics of responding to disasters involving animals. You will learn about the Berkshire DART and the Berkshire Medical Reserve Corps, and their role in disaster response. **MRC Orientation (55 minute recording)


Intro to Animal Preparedness and Response with David Schwartz, founder of the State of MA Animal Response Team (SMART) (recorded training from 9/2021)


Here are some additional online training opportunities that address animals in disasters.

**IS-10a Animals in Disasters: Awareness and Preparedness

IS-11.A: Animals in Disasters: Community Planning


When a disaster or incident requires response from multiple local emergency management and response agencies, and volunteer groups such at MRC and/or DART, effective coordination using common processes and systems is critical. The Incident Command System (ICS) provides a flexible, yet standardized core mechanism for coordinated and collaborative incident management, whether for incidents where additional resources are required or are provided from different organizations within a single jurisdiction or outside the jurisdiction, or for complex incidents with national implications.

You can think of ICS as a common language that everyone speaks when different response groups work together. For more in depth information about ICS, click on the link above.  Training on these topics is occasionally available through a classroom format, however, to expedite your training you may also complete these requirements online:

**View this ICS chart   for a simple conceptual framework

**View this (10 minute)  Video introduction to ICS

If you’d like to know more- here is an online course  IS-700.a National Incident Management System

4. DEALING WITH PEOPLE IN DISTRESS  (Psychological First Aid)

When you deal with companion animals in disaster situations, you also deal with their families. This course deals with principals and techniques of dealing with people in the midst or immediate aftermath of disaster. These practices are designed to reduce the initial distress caused by traumatic events, and to foster adaptive functioning and coping. The course aims to foster an understanding that disaster survivors, and others impacted by such events, will experience a broad range of reactions (e.g. physical, psychological, cognitive, spiritual). Some of these reactions will cause sufficient distress for the individual and may be alleviated by support from compassionate and caring disaster responders.


Topics covered in this course include symptoms and care for common ailments and emergencies, how to recognize emergencies and how to give medications. You will learn instructions for creating a pet first aid kit as well as tips on maintaining the health and well-being of animals.

In addition to the above trainings, many other courses throughout the region are offered.  These are usually cost-free to our volunteers, but not always. Topics may include:

  • Small Animal Handling
  • Large Animal Handling
  • Emergency Response for Farm Animals
  • Exotics
  • Full day or weekend workshops or practice exercises
  • Pet Tech Advanced First Aid

Our goal is to offer these trainings annually.  As a member of WMDART, you are also able to attend any MRC unit trainings that may include:

  • First Aid and CPR for people
  • Disaster Planning and Preparedness for Families
  • Emergency Shelter Management and Operations
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Various hospital based training opportunities