EEE successfully completed an internal alert test using the WhatsApp application. The purpose is to provide a “heads-up” of a potential situation, to identify those members who are available for a mission and to enable the Resource Coordinator to manage and document those resources.
After careful research and analysis, the Grasshopper external phone system was selected and implemented. Grasshopper enables an inbound, public hotline for requesting assistance for equine emergencies. The system permits calls to roll through a “ladder” of up to 15 EEE dispatchers ensuring that calls will be promptly answered. A comprehensive communications plan is nearing completion. In December, EEE received a donation of 23 working radios with battery packs and antennas.
EEE now has 70 volunteers and is undergoing a review of each volunteer with respect to their assigned role. Volunteers that do not meet the appropriate horse experience and skill levels are assigned to Staging Area positions that do not entail horse handling. Personnel and training files have also been developed for each volunteer.Background checks have been completed on all registered volunteers. Volunteer documentation currently includes an application, a waiver of liability, background check, vehicle inspection report(s) and training records.
Evacuators and Staging Area volunteers have participated in trainings specific to their function in anticipation of the initial mock drill at the Chino Valley Humane Society Equine Center on November 16, 2019. All Evacuation volunteers have received and been trained on a binder that includes “work-flow” document, SOPs, checklists, and questionnaires that provide specific guidance in the phases of deployment, mission preparation, transport and delivery as well as logging and documenting each mission. Specific training will continue over the Winter with a view to undertaking a more complex mock drill in April 2020, preparatory to the next wildfire season. In December, EEE conducted a large animal technical rescue course taught by nationally recognized experts, John and Deb Fox.
The EEE website domain has been obtained (www.eeeyc.org). An EEE Facebook page has been created and is being populated. It is being managed by an experienced social media volunteer.
EEE also now has an email address, (info@EEEYC.org).
Rack cards have been created and published and will be a key component of outreach and fundraising initiatives. All outreach materials will contain the public emergency hotline phone number which is 833-922-9333. We will socialize this number with all first responder teams, County agencies, other COADs as well as veterinarians, equestrian groups and community organizations. A coordinated public awareness campaign is planned for March.
It is essential that EEE volunteers be readily identifiable during an incident. At this time, the EEE identifiers consist of the hat with logo and the magnetic door logos on the vehicles. In addition, we are developing photo ID badges and a unique vehicle identifier, which will be located on the right side visor.
In the Staging Area, orange emergency worker vests have been purchased for ready identification of teams and team leads. Sandwich board signs have been purchased to clearly expedite movement to various parts of the Staging Area (Exit, Entrance, Parking, etc.).
Recruitment and Fundraising:
Having 70 volunteers may seem like a lot, but conventional wisdom tells us that getting 40-50% availability for the first operating period of a major incident is considered good. We continue to recruit incrementally, and are very pleased to report that we now have four veterinarians and four professional horse trainers in the group. In addition, numerous individuals with prior fire, LE and EM experience have recently joined. As a 501c3, we will build out our fundraising strategy over the next few months with an emphasis on raising monies for mission critical infrastructure, such as radio and safety equipment.