BUTLER COUNTY, Kansas-- Dozens of emergency volunteer met in Butler County this weekend for a training exercise to help them better prepare for when a disaster strikes.
Volunteers learned how to properly rescue and help disaster victims and household pets with the help of actors and props.
Animal responders are no strangers to this scene: a stray dog wandering in a field after a tornado destroys a town.
"We'll get you help," said animal responder. "Good boy."
Citizen volunteers carried out the rescue as if it were to happen in Butler County.
"Our motto is any disaster, any animal anywhere we go," said Janell Jessup, Butler County Animal Response Team Leader. "We'll be there for those owners."
The Butler County Animal Response Team set up a mock animal shelter near the Department of Safety building with the help of volunteers from Cowley, Reno, Harvey, Sedgwick, Butler, Kingman, and Pratt.
"This is the animal intake procedure where they'll bring the animals in to be identify," said Jessup as she pointed to the location in the shelter.
The pretend set up feels very real to bystanders.
The shelter is giving volunteers a chance to see what it's like during time of devastation when household pets are displaced and owners are searching for their furry friend.
"Our goal is to identify them and get them healthy first and try to do some reclaim and get them united with their owners," said Jessup. "We have a pet tracking system to bar code the pets as they come in and the owners so we know who belongs to who."
This set up was part of a larger effort and is the first of its kind in south-central Kansas.
Community emergency response teams from Butler, Sedgwick, and Cowley counties are getting a chance to work and train together to save potential lives.
"You may not show up with the lights and sirens and be officially in uniform as a first responder, but you havea vital place," said Keri Korthals, Assistant Director for Butler County Emergency Management. "It kind of reinforces you're so essential and that we need you in this process."
Community emergency response teams will use the results from this training exercise to see what they need to work on and how they can improve their response.
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