Cat carrier

Interested in volunteering for an animal emergency response team? Would you like to know more about how emergency response works? How about how animals can be affected by disasters?

NJ mapYou could join a County Animal Response Team (CART). Most counties in NJ have a CART to assist animal owners during emergencies and disasters. During evacuations, the CARTs may set up a temporary emergency animal shelter at one or more human shelters so that pet owners can keep their pets nearby. During non-emergency periods, the CARTs conduct training exercises, perform community services such as assisting during rabies clinics, and educate animal owners through public outreach activities.

CARTs are made up of volunteers and professionals including animal control officers, shelter staff, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and other animal industry workers, experts, and animal lovers. Each CART is organized under that county’s Office of Emergency Management.

To learn more about joining a CART, go to:

To join a CART, contact your county’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

Click here for the list of NJ County OEM contacts:

Most CARTs require their volunteers to take certain courses. Many of these can be found at a FEMA website offering online courses: These include courses on Incident Command System (ICS), a systematic tool used for the command, control, and coordination of emergency response and required study for any emergency response position. Among the required courses for joining a NJ County Animal Response Team (CART) is IS-100.b Introduction to Incident Command System, ICS-100. There are also courses specifically geared towards animals in disasters: IS-10.a Animals in Disasters: Awareness and Preparedness and IS-11.a Animals in Disasters: Community Planning. SomeFEMA home page of the Independent Study courses can also be applied towards college credits.


To view the catalog of courses, go to:

Plan Ahead

Relaxed dog in crate

During an emergency or disaster, you may have to evacuate. Remember, if it is not safe for you, it is not safe for your pets. Plan ahead so that if you ever have to evacuate with your pet, you know where you can go. You need to determine what your options might be before a disaster strikes. A friend or relative may be a good option but they should be away from the impacted area and willing to take in your pet(s) as well as your family. Check with hotels and motels in your immediate area and also some that are a distance from your home to find out what their policies are in accepting pets. Some may be willing to waive a no pet policy during a disaster. Another option is to board your pet in a kennel or veterinary hospital while you stay with friends, relatives or in other temporary housing that is not animal friendly.

While your County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will setcage dog up shelters during a community evacuation, this should be a last resort and not a first plan. Not all human shelters are pet friendly and you will need to check with your County OEM or County Animal Response Team (CART) to find out where the CART Temporary Emergency Animal Shelter is set up.

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