Training Information

Volunteer Training Requirements

In order to be deployed by VDART to a disaster, our team members must

  1. Return a completed Volunteer Application Form and Waiver.
  2. Be at least 18 years of age.
  3. Complete (at a minimum) Level One of the following training curriculum

DART Level One Training (Required)

Volunteering for Your State Disaster Animal Response Team
Free, self-paced webinar that introduces volunteers to their state disaster animal response team. Learn more here.

Emergency Animal Sheltering Course – Basic
(Offered by VDART and national response groups like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, and Red Rover)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Independent Study Courses
(free, self-paced and on-line)

FEMA IS-100.C: Introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS)
Introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training. Describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

FEMA IS-700.B: An Introduction to the National Incident Management System (NIMS)
Introduces the National Incident Management System (NIMS), a consistent nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents.

FEMA IS-10.A: Animals in Disasters: Awareness & Preparedness
Intended to increase awareness and preparedness among animal owners and care providers. Includes sections on typical hazards, how these affect animals and what can be done by responsible owners to reduce the impact of disasters. Also intended to help animal owners, care providers and industries to better understand emergency management. Will heighten awareness of the special issues that emergency managers need to consider when incorporating animal-care annexes into their emergency operations plans.

FEMA IS-11.A: Animals in Disasters: Community Planning
Intended to guide emergency management officials and animal owners, care providers, and industries in preparing community disaster plans. Goal is to provide sufficient information for both groups to meet and develop meaningful and effective plans that improve the care of animals, their owners, and the animal-care industries in disasters. Provides the basic background knowledge needed to develop a coordinated response to a disaster in which animals and their owners are affected. Further training with local or State emergency management programs is essential.

FEMA IS-111.A: Livestock in Disasters
For farmers, extension agents, emergency managers and others who have interests in the livestock industry. Describes the various hazards that large animals can face and how to mitigate them, as well as how to respond to an actual disaster. The livestock industry is a multi-billion dollar business that provides food for the American people as well as those overseas. It is important to insure our livestock are safe from hazards and will not suffer from the effects of hazards. This course can be downloaded from the Independent Study Web site and the test can be completed and submitted online.

Level Two Training (Optional)

Level Three Training (Optional)

  • Animal and human rapid water rescue
  • Animal and human rope incline rescue
  • Advanced ICS training
  • Advanced search and rescue
  • Introduction to hazardous materials

Other Training (Optional)

  • Hands-on training (volunteer at your local animal shelter!)
  • Formal and informal animal disaster drills
  • Exotic animal handling
  • Shelter management simulation exercises
  • Communications equipment and protocols
  • Cross training with other state and local DART teams
  • American Red Cross training
    – First Aid/CPR
    – Introduction to Disaster Services
    – Introduction to Disaster Services Mass Care: An Overview
    – Shelter Operations
    – Shelter Simulation
    – Mass Care
    – Emergency Assistance to Families

VDART Video Training Library

This library is meant to be a resource for you to pursue training in the area of your interests.  There are numerous websites with thousands of training videos, so the VDART’s Training and Development Committee selected a few that would be pertinent to our emergency sheltering work.  Jump in and have fun!

Free Red Cross classes

Free Red Cross classes for non-Red Cross volunteers.  One particular class that will assist VDART members is: “Psychological First Aid”.  Here’s the link to register:

Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Conference via ASPCApro

  • Caring this much is exhausting
  • Engaging volunteers
  • Enacting laws that keep pets and people together


ASPCA On-line Learning Lab


ASPCApro Tools & Tips