Joe Elmore - Disaster preparation for animal shelters

Guest: Joe Elmore joined Charleston Animal Society as its President and CEO in 2012. Joe has been recognized by the Governors of Washington and the Virgin Islands, has received the American Red Cross Tiffany Award for Management Excellence, and was awarded the U.S. Dept. of Defense Medal for his work in America’s first Persian Gulf Conflict. Joe was named one of 9 Maddie’s Heroes for inspirational and innovative leadership in its 2015 inaugural class. 

Main question: How should animal welfare organizations prepare for disasters – such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires – given that policies and staffing may be severely affected by the current public health crisis?


  • Make sure your staff members each have personal evacuation plans for their animals and family.

  • Review disaster protocols at least once a year with all of your staff and any volunteers who would likely help.

  • Identify partner organizations that will accept animals from your shelter if you have to evacuate (you can reciprocate when they need help). Be sure to make connections with local Emergency Management officials too. During the current public health crisis, these connections are more important than ever. 

  • Hurricanes, and other weather events that usually occur with advance warning, lend themselves to time frame action plans that detail steps to take 1 week out, 3 days out, 2 days, 1 day, and 12 hours.

  • Record a 2 to 3 minute video to share with the public on how to prepare to evacuate pets and farm animals. Release this at the start of any weather-related disaster season and share it again before any individual major storm or event. You can also get advice out to the public through the local media.  




Recorded August 6, 2020.

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