Board Members Sought For Central Mass Disaster Animal Response Team

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NORTHBRIDIGE, Mass. - Central Mass. Disaster Animal Response Team, Inc. is seeking board members to replace several who are retiring after several years of service and to expand the expertise on the current board.

The organization has faced an increase in demand for service as local disasters multiply. The responsibilities of this private, non-profit now replicate that of a small- to medium-size business and community leaders are needed to help meet the continued demands. 

CMDART provides information, training, support, supplies, and personnel to help plan, prepare and respond to aid public safety when pet owners are affected by a disaster .  Disasters have increased in magnitude and frequency over the past few years. Humans can prepare for events such as this, but animals cannot. They need help.

CMDART has provided that assistance for the past nine years. It has mutual aid agreements with the American Red Cross and serves local, regional, and State Emergency Management agencies.  CMDART assisted emergency management when the ice storms hit in December 2008, for the tornado in 2010, more recently for Hurricanes Irene and Sandy and has also assisted with several fires.

New volunteers  on other levels, from working at an information booth  to responding to disasters, are always needed. CMDART volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds, training and skills. Training is provided depending on how volunteers want to help and what skills they possess.

"We attend approximately 20 events per year just to educate businesses, agencies, employees, and the general public about their personal responsibility to be prepared for a disaster ," said JoAnn Griffin, licensed social worker and president and team leader for CMDART..

" The more we educate pet owners, the less they need us;  the more they take responsibility for their own welfare, if they can,  the less likely the strain on already limited public and private services. We eagerly offer public education whenever we can."

More information about the needs of the organization can be obtained by visiting the groups website or contacting president@cmdart.org, 508-476-3677.

Commitment to the Board of Directors includes a monthly meeting in person or by conference calls, attendance at an annual volunteer appreciation meeting; fund raising, strategic planning, financial management, and committee development are requested skills.

A 10th anniversary celebration is being planned for January or February. Look for more information about this open-to-the public event soon.

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