The newsletter that keeps animal response teams in Kansas informed and connected.

Mark your calendars on Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3, 2012 for the 5th annual Fall Conference for animal response teams!  This year's conference will be in Wichita, Kansas at the KU Medical Center.  Friday morning starts with meetings for team leaders and Red Cross First Aid training for volunteers, the afternoon will offer a table top exercise with Code 3 Associates and the evening provides a networking opportunity with food and drinks, at a local establishment.  Saturday morning kicks off with a general session by keynote speaker, Cheryl L. Eia, JD, DVM, MPH Coordinator, Emergency Preparedness and Response, AVMA and the day will progress with break-out sessions and round table discussions covering a wide range of topics for animal response team volunteers.

Conference registration will be made available on Kansas Train on September 14th.  The standard conference fee includes the table top exercise, breakout sessions, round table discussions, breakfast and lunch both days, and will be collected on-line when you register for the conference.  The standard conference fee is $35 for attendees who reside in Kansas and $50 for out-of-state attendees.  There is also an additional charge for the certified Red Cross First Aid course.

Please share this newsletter with others!  Just click on the "share with a friend" button at the bottom and invite others to become volunteers and attend the fall conference!
The 'Regional Concept' is Moving Forward
by Janet Hackney, JoCART/ KC Metro Region
I became interested in the animal response world in August 2011 through a newspaper article about JoCART (Johnson County Animal Response Team).  As I took courses and attended meetings, I learned that JoCART is a great organization made up of wonderful people who are willing to lend a hand to animals if and when a disaster occurs.  One of the my tasks is to organize volunteers, keep track of classes taken and update information about them so they could be easily contacted if the need arose by using a program called Volgistics.  
A few months ago, Kelly Benton, KSSART (Kansas State Animal Response Team) Unit Coordinator, attended one of our JoCART meetings to talk about KSSART and "The Regional Concept".  She explained that currently there are many CARTS throughout Kansas who gather information independently.  By dividing the state into 'regions', and having active county teams within these regions, it would allow for the creation of one database, accessible by everyone, to help ensure there is an animal response team trained and ready to deploy anywhere within the state.   What a great idea!
Making this happen is no small feat.  Kelly has worked many hours creating databases, volunteer forms, on and on......  now she is ready to train the Volunteer Database Management team so the regional concept can move forward.  The program KSSART uses is Volgistics as well -- kind of like the Volgistics I use, but on steroids!    
On a CART level, keeping track of volunteers, training updates and profile changes can be a daunting task.   What is being created within the regional concept is a huge step forward!  The outcome of all of this hard work will be a user friendly interface which will benefit everyone -- animals included!  It will allow the gathering of volunteer information in one place, which can be divided within regions, that is accessible anywhere a computer, smart phone, tablet, etc. can be found.   Volunteers will even be able to update their own information if something changes, like phone numbers, addresses, etc.  The end result will be a quicker notification process, a database with updated records, printable refined reports, pertinent documentation, and improved communication!   Involvement by everyone is the key!
Busy Out West
by Cassie Stein/South West Region

The South West regional team has had a busy year trying to get their paws off the ground and running. We started with an information meeting back in November of 2011. The first meeting of 2012 was in March followed by a meeting in June. At the June meeting the group set out dates and planned trainings for the rest of the year. July brought some animal handling and reading training at the Dodge City Animal Shelter. Two of the members attended Shelter Manager training at the Hutchinson Animal Shelter put on by Code Three Associates. In September we will have human first aid and CPR training available at Grant County EMS followed with a team meeting in the afternoon. With the end of year meeting in November and kicking off the new year in January. 

Our first fund raising event will be October 6 in Ulysses during the Fall and Safety Fest. The team is planning to put on a dog and family 5K and 1 mile run or walk event. The goal of our event is not only to raise funding for our group but to provide education to the members of the community about preparing for a disaster for the furry friends in their lives. Along with this we are taking food donations that will be given to the local animal shelter. As an organization that plans to assist communities when people are struggling, we want to give back when things are going well. 

As a group we still have a great deal of work to get the team where we would all like to see it. We have had some challenges getting everyone together. Laying out the meetings for the year we hope to help with some of this. As with anyone, sometimes your calendar fills up before you know it. We are also still working on core trainings, which we are attempting to help with by providing the opportunities during or concurrently with our meetings. Recruitment is an area we are also working at. We hope that by getting a base group created and formed we can then start with growing our team. Without a good base attempting to raise walls would cause more work in the long run.

The group is working hard to get that base set up. We have a good start group from many different facets, not all animal care areas. We have people who were at the Greensburg tornado down to people who the only animal experience they have is their furry kids at home. This gives us many different skills and ideas to bring to the table. In the next year we hope to continue to grow and enrich our team. Thanks to the groups started before us we have a good path to follow.

If you would like more information about the Run, Waddle & Wag or the SW Kansas Animal Response Team please contact Cassie Stein at 620-356-3500 or
Five Tips When Starting a CART
by Amber Barnes, Cowley CART/South Central Region

Starting a CART in your community? That’s great! And maybe a little overwhelming. Here are a few tips from the folks at Cowley Animal Response Team to help you along your way:

1. Find your Core
Perhaps the most important step in starting a CART is finding a small, dedicated core of committee members/officers. Here at Cowley County this core consists of Brian Stone, our amazing and very involved Emergency Operations Manager, Melissa Shaw, our Jill-of-all-trades Vice President, Teresa Hardin, our Secretary or our “Missing Piece” who joined us more recently and Amber Barnes (that would be me), our President and de facto Volunteer Manager. Now your CART committee members don’t have to follow this exact path but you will find more success building a CART if you have a firm foundation.

2.  Play to your Strengths
Play to peoples strengths. Everyone has something they can bring to the table. For example, Teresa is Director of County Cowley Humane Society and has contacts within the animal community here and has a strong understanding of shelters and how they operate. She brings a lot to the table.  Melissa, who until recently worked at the Health Department, is great at research and creating documents and has impressive organizational skills. She also has a solid understanding of commonly used abbreviations and emergency management. Brian brings us all together and advises us with his extensive knowledge base regarding emergency management issues. I come from an animal rescue and grassroots organizing background and use these experiences to grow and support our cause. Everyone has something. Find out what strengths your core has and develop them!

3.  Don’t Get Caught up in the Numbers
Don’t worry if you don’t have an army of volunteers banging on your door to sign up. Starting a CART takes time, preparation and patience. Don’t get in a hurry! You want to be solidly into your 12 Steps and have a clear direction before you bring in too many volunteers. It is easier to recruit, train and manage volunteers once you and your committee have a solid understanding and clear vision of where you are headed as a CART.  Now I am not saying you should turn away early volunteers but don’t make that the focus in your first few months.  And don’t forget, “Quality over Quantity”. You would be surprised how much more effectively you can work with ten committed, trained volunteers than with twice as many that you haven’t had time to build relationships with and train properly.

4.  Take it One Step at a Time
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the steps and details that come with starting a CART. Here in Cowley we have found the best way to deal with this is by focusing on the Step in front of us. By doing this, we are able to concentrate on what needs to be addressed now and organize and delegate responsibilities important to the success of completing that step. When we have ideas about future possibilities and potential obstacles, we discuss them briefly and write them down to deal with them when that time comes.  So while it is imperative to direct our attention to the task at hand, communication about future concerns or ideas is important and should be welcomed. Just don’t let this make up the sole part of the meeting.

5.  Embrace the Feeling!
 This is an especially important part.  Enjoy the feeling of being a part of something that makes a real difference in your community and to the lives of the people and animals therein. This in turn makes the world a safer and happier place. You are changing the world for the better! You will be handing beloved pets over to thankful owners and rescuing frightened animals. No matter whether you are a Disaster Responder or are a part of the CART Planning Committee, you will be making a difference.  And remember, there cannot be a CART without the hard work of individuals willing to donate their time and skills to creating one in the first place. Congratulations!
I hope this helps all of you out there starting CARTs. Thank you for the work you are doing! 
Thanks For Your Support
by Kelly Benton, Unit Coordinator

Thanks to all of you, for what you do and for your overwhelming support and enthusiasm.  I have been blessed to meet some incredible people over the last 8 months and I must say the animal response team volunteers are an amazing group, all across Kansas!  I am honored to be a part of this incredible organization and to have the opportunity to work with all of YOU!

We have had great meetings to kick off the regional concept in all 7 regions, you have shared your concerns and ideas, been open to suggestions and patient with training sessions over the phone.  I could not ask for more and look forward to what the future holds.  Let's continue to work together to further develop our network of animal response teams in Kansas, as the leader other state teams look to for inspiration.  

You know how to find me, call or email when you have questions, issues or suggestions.  I am here for all of you, that is my job and my pleasure.  Hope to see you all at the fall conference!!
Copyright © 2012 Kansas State Animal Response Team, All rights reserved.