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Click here to go to CART volunteer training requirements and opportunities.
Just announced: October 20-21 Disaster Sheltering for Companion Animals workshop in Chester County. Click here for details.
Are you prepared? Click here.
Before Hurricane Katrina made most of the country pay attention to the terrible possibilities a disaster could bring to animals and their caretakers, the HSBC was working to prepare for the worst. In 2005, the Humane Society of Berks County was appointed to be the lead agency to undertake the creation of the first Animal Response Team for Berks County (Berks CART). Berks CART is a local extension of the State Animal Response Team for Pennsylvania (PA SART). These Animal Response Teams are public/private/non-profit partnerships intended to provide the volunteers, resources, organization, and financial commitment needed to plan for and respond to disaster of all types and sizes impacting animals in our state and county.
Berks CART has activated numerous times over its history for severe ice storms, large-scale cruelty cases, floods and hurricanes. We even deployed a team to the Gulf Coast to assist local and national animal agencies in their work helping people and animals recover and reunite after Hurricane Katrina.
Download a flyer outlining important emergency preparedness information here. (PDF)
Berks CART needs volunteers to assist with animal rescue efforts for small animals, farm animals, and horses, as well as planning and logistics, public relations, veterinary services, and resource coordination. There are individual committees for each of these areas and training available. Apply to volunteer online by clicking here. Learn about volunteer training requirements and online training by clicking here.
While active volunteers are important, the Berks CART also needs space to house animals in emergencies, vehicles to transport animals, portable kennels, veterinary support, heavy equipment, and more. These resources need to be lined up in advance of an emergency to allow for rapid response.
Effective emergency response starts with strong first responder organizations. By supporting the Humane Society of Berks County financially, you help to ensure that we can provide the direction and coordination needed for emergencies of all sizes. Please consider making a gift today in support of the Berks CART, the PetNet emergency foster program, 24 hour injured emergency animal ambulance services, and all the other important services and program provided by the HSBC. The HSBC would not be able to provide CART support without the leadership provided by PA SART. Consider supporting PA SART financially, as well.
Contact Damon March at 610-921-2348, extension 18, or at
Download the Berks CART brochure PDF, which includes the volunteer registration form here. (PDF)
Berks CART and PA SART have adopted specific training and background check requirements, to ensure the qualifications and safety of our volunteers.
All Berks CART volunteers are required to provide a PSP criminal background check. There is a $10 charge to the volunteer. It is a very quick and easy online process (click here to go to the site). Once the background check is received, forward it to Damon March, HSBC CART Assistant Coordinator. NO CART volunteer will be allowed to participate without this check. If you have received a PSP check in the last 12 months for employment of some other reason, that check may be used.
Because of Berks CART's official status as an emergency response organization, there are several qualifications all Berks CART volunteers must complete in order to serve the people and animals of Berks County during an emergency. FEMA, with assistance from State and local agencies developed the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) to ensure that all emergency responders understand the basic framework in which they work, so that a coordinated, effective and efficient response is achieved. Berks CART volunteers are required to take just a few of these basic courses, but we encourage you to take as many as you’d like – a little education goes a long way. All the listed courses are available online – we all work for a living, and we know sitting through a four-hour class on hazardous materials isn’t everybody’s idea of an evening well-spent. You can complete these courses at your leisure, and FEMA even allows you to save your progress at certain points, so that you don’t have to accomplish a course in one sitting.Click here for the FEMA Independent Study Program. This will get you started – FEMA’s Virtual Campus is the gateway through which you’ll sign up for courses, save your progress, and receive your certifications. There’s an “about” link on the left side of the page that will give you some great information on NIMS and ICS courses.The following courses are required for all Berks CART volunteers:
1801 N. 11th Street, Reading, PA 19604 - phone 610-921-2348 - fax 610-921-5833
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