Disaster Sheltering for Companion Animals

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This two-day course is the first offering in American Humane Association’s Community Preparedness Training series, designed to help communities of any size actively and formally prepare for disasters affecting both animals and humans. This course is considered “must-have” training for everyone who will be involved in emergency sheltering.

Who should attend?

Anyone interested in the welfare of animals during or after a disaster, professionals trained in disaster response, emergency medical services personnel, firefighters, animal shelter staff, animal control officers, veterinarians and veterinary technicians, animal handlers/trainers and Red Cross volunteers.

Topics Include

  • Identifying viable locations for emergency animal shelters in your community
  • Differences between temporary and co-location shelters
  • Designing and setting up an emergency animal shelter
  • Public information officer and media relations skills and duties
  • Identification and record keeping
  • Daily routines in the care of animals
  • Safety and security concerns
  • Creating a volunteer plan and managing volunteers during a disaster
  • Decontamination
  • Legal issues and liability
  • Dispositions of animals
  • Demobilization of the emergency shelter


Learn the skills to plan for and implement emergency sheltering for companion animals during and after a disaster, whether at the local or national level.  This class is not a requirement for becoming an official American Humane Association Red Star Animal Emergency Services™ volunteer.

Upcoming Trainings


Classes may be cancelled if minimum enrollment is not met. If cancellation is necessary, AHA will use its best efforts to cancel at least two weeks prior to the scheduled start of the first training session and class registration fees will be refunded. Unfortunately, AHA cannot reimburse for travel expenses even if a class is cancelled. We encourage participants to consider this possibility when making travel arrangements.


Proud Sponsor of American Humane Association
Red Star Animal Emergency Services

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“We are proud to have hosted the Disaster Sheltering for Companion Animals training class for American Humane. The class brought many different organizations and people from all backgrounds together to discuss and learn about emergency sheltering for animals. The topics covered have given us a great starting point for disaster planning and we would recommend that anyone who has an interest in animal welfare should participate in the Red Star Animal Emergency trainings offered by American Humane”.

Christian Nash
Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control Manager

“American Humane's training courses in both Disaster Sheltering and Animal Emergency Response provide participants with both classroom instruction and hands-on practice in simulated situations that allow the participant to be well prepared for actual disaster related deployments. Both courses are superb and the instructional staff are knowledgeable; able to motivate participants; and bring real life experiences to the classroom. These course are " A Must" for animal emergency responders".

Joel Hersh
Executive Director
Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team

“Disaster Sheltering for Companion Animals provides community responders with the necessary tools to develop and implement best practice animal sheltering plans. The training is engaging and comprehensive. Participants make a point of telling me how much they enjoyed and learned from this course.”

Deborah Foote Colburn
Director, Animal Emergency Management Program
Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation