Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare - Disaster Planning and Response Resources

The following resources are available to assist PHS awardee institutions with animal care and use programs in planning and responding to natural and other disasters.

Disaster Planning

  • Disaster Planning (PDF), Animal Lab News 2007; 6 (3):21-24: Points to consider when developing a disaster plan for your animal facility.
  • Disaster Planning, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): Information obtained from the Florida Animal Disaster Planning Advisory Committee (ADPAC). This guidance is intended to be helpful to facilities where animals are routinely housed, (e.g., governmental, academic, private animal shelters, kennels, veterinary clinics and hospitals, pet shops, and horse stables). These guidelines can help identify which disasters/dangers a facility may be vulnerable to, and what plans they can make in advance to mitigate damage and downtime.
  • NIH-OACU: Disaster Response, NIH Office of Animal Care and Use (OACU) animal program disaster response resources. Although specific to NIH facilities, these resources provide multiple references and templates that may be useful to other research animal facilities when developing contingency plans for natural and other disasters.
  • OLAW Webinar: Disaster Planning, March 7, 2013: Stephen Durkee provides best practice insights into developing a disaster plan compliant with the Guide.
  • USDA-APHIS: Contingency Regulations: Effective July 31, 2013, the USDA issued a stay of the Contingency Plan regulation. This means that the regulation requiring all dealers, exhibitors, intermediate handlers, carriers, research facilities and other entities regulated by the Agency under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to take additional steps to be better prepared for potential disaster situations is suspended until the stay is resolved.



  • Disaster Preparedness for Veterinarians, American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): AVMA disaster preparedness program assists veterinarians, animal owners, and others interested in the well-being of animals to prepare for animal safety in the event of a disaster.

Publications and Reports

  • ARENA/OLAW Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Guidebook, 2002 (Excerpt - Word): Section B.6. Emergency Preparedness: B.6.a) Security and Crisis Management - developing a crisis management team, conducting a risk assessment, and establishing a communication network; and B.6.b) Disaster Planning - developing an emergency management program and implementing a disaster plan.
  • Focus on Disaster Preparedness, Lab Animal 2013; 42(10): This issue helps to address the challenges of disaster preparedness for animal facilities.
  • Disaster Planning and Management, ILAR Journal 2010; 51(2): This issue presents lessons learned by colleagues who experienced different types of disasters, both natural and deliberate, in varying animal-related settings.
  • Disaster Recovery, Lab Animal 2002; 31(8): 27-30: When dealing with recovery from a disaster, PHS- funded animal research institutions have certain responsibilities to the NIH. The authors of this article outline these responsibilities and identify areas in which federal offices can aid the affected institution in the recovery effort.
  • Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, 2011: Sections on Disaster Planning and Emergency Preparedness (Guide, p 35) and Emergency, Weekend, and Holiday Care (Guide, pp 74-75).
  • Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching, 2010:Sections on Emergency, Weekend, and Holiday Care and Emergency Plans (Ag Guide - PDF; see pp 22-23).
  • The Threat of Extremism to Medical Research, 2014 (PDF): Report from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) on best practices to mitigate risk through preparation and communication.


  • Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) Guide to Disaster Preparedness (PDF), University of California at Davis: Useful information about developing a disaster response plan, disaster preparedness training, and resource availability. DANR offers information, animal care procedures and emergency-related forms that show many types of disaster preparedness activities in which promote community involvement. Check references listed in this guide for more detailed information on disaster preparedness and emergency response.
  • Lessons Learned (Word): Compilation of U.S. Public Health Service Commission Corps Veterinarians' findings/recommendations as a result of efforts to rescue laboratory animals following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in September 2005. Lessons Learned describes considerations for disaster planning, immediate response, and recovery efforts.
  • Lessons Learned from Katrina, Rita, and Their "Sisters:" Evacuating, Euthanizing, Rescuing, and Rebuilding - PRIM&R/ARENA 2006 Annual IACUC Conference (Workshop Handout - PDF). Moderator: Axel Wolff. Panelists: Laura Levy, Lessons Learned From Katrina (PDF). William Stokes, Disaster Planning for Laboratory Animal Facilities (PDF).

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