June 27, 2018

National Pet Preparedness Month
June is National Pet Preparedness Month. In April 2013, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  sent notice (PDF) to its regional offices that public universities are required to comply with the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA), which includes allowing emotional support animals into college dormitories and residence halls. While people should be prepared for emergencies year-round, this month serves as a reminder of the special considerations that need to be made when encountering service and emotional support animals and is an opportune time for colleges and universities to review and amend policies as they relate to service and emotional support animals on campus.
HUD explained the obligations of housing providers under the FHAA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with respect to animals that provide assistance to individuals with disabilities. Both service animals and emotional support animals fall under this description. An emotional support animal is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability. The person seeking the emotional support animal must have a verifiable disability; the reason cannot just be a need for companionship. The animal is viewed as a "reasonable accommodation" under the FHAA to those housing communities that have a "no pets" rule. In other words, just as a wheelchair provides a person with a physical limitation the equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, an emotional support animal provides a person with a mental or psychiatric disability the same opportunity to live independently. Most times, an emotional support animal will be seen as a reasonable accommodation for a person with such a disability. Failure to make reasonable accommodations by changing rules or policies can be a violation of the FHAA unless the accommodation would be an undue financial burden on the landlord or cause a fundamental alteration to the premises. In light of these obligations, colleges and universities should evaluate their current housing policies as they relate to service and emotional support animals. Some policies that institutions of higher education have developed include those from Tufts, Michigan State University's Animal Legal and Historical Center, UCONN, and Denison.
In addition to evaluating policies, this preparedness month is a good time to share information with the community on how to properly prepare to care for their pets, including service and emotional support animals, during an emergency. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), pet owners can take these five steps to prepare for an emergency:
  • Step 1 - Get a rescue alert sticker
  • Step 2 - Arrange a safe haven
  • Step 3 - Choose "designated caregivers"
  • Step 4 - Prepare emergency supplies and traveling kits
  • Step 5 - Keep the ASPCA on-hand at all times by using their free mobile app that offers the following:
    • Critical advice on what to do with your pet before, during, and after a major storm-even if there's no data connectivity.
    • The ability to store and manage your pet's critical health records.
    • Receive a personalized missing pet recovery kit, including step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal in a variety of circumstances.
    • Build a lost pet digital flyer that can be shared instantly on your social media channels.
    • The latest and most relevant news about pets and animal welfare.
The ASPCA literature also addresses unique considerations for geography as well as horses, birds, reptiles, and other small animals. Additionally, Ready.gov provides a social media toolkit to assist in communicating preparedness information to the community. The toolkit discusses #petpreparedness tips on evacuation, sheltering, identification, and seasonal concerns.
While individual responsibility is critical in caring for animals, safety professionals also need to understand the prevalence of animals in their response areas and identify methods for appropriate and safe interactions with pets. The National Canine Research Council, Safe Humane Chicago, and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services created a 5-part video series, " Police & Dog Encounters: Tactical Strategies and Effective Tools to Keep Our Communities Safe and Humane," to assist community and campus safety professionals in preparing for interactions with pets during emergency situations. These roll call videos discuss tools, practices, and procedures that contribute to effective responses to dog-related incidents and encounters where dogs are present. Each video in the series is available in English and Spanish. 

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Register today!
Join Our July 10 Webinar with REMS TA Center
On July 10, 2018 at 2 PM ET, we welcome Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center (REMS TA Center) to our monthly, free webinar series, Campus Public Safety Online. Madeline Sullivan (PDF), contracting officer's representative, and Janelle Hughes (PDF), director of communications, present Understanding How the REMS TA Center Supports Institutions of Higher Education, an overview of the services, resources, and support systems available to institutions of higher education (IHEs). 
Madeline and Janelle will highlight the REMS TA Center website and the sections that are dedicated to supporting IHEs, as well as explain key resources that have been developed by the federal partners in higher education safety, security, and emergency preparedness to support the development of high-quality emergency operations plans (EOPs). They will help IHE representatives learn how they can use the REMS TA Center's resources to connect with fellow  practitioners, including accessing practitioner-developed resources and holding online discussions on key topics in higher education preparedness efforts. At the conclusion of the webinar, participants will understand the range of support the REMS TA Center has to offer the field, including in-person and virtual trainings, interactive tools to support emergency preparedness planning, guidance documents, and other resources on key topics in higher education safety.
This webinar is appropriate for campus administrators, campus public safety and security officers, campus law enforcement, student conduct & affairs, emergency management, and anyone interested in learning more about the REMS TA Center.   
For more information and to register, for our July webinar as well as our August 14webinar on The Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI), please visit our webinar webpage.

Fireworks safety
Download the NFPA tip sheet.
Fireworks and Independence Day Safety
Each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks - devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death.  According to the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Research, Data & Analytics Division , fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage. In 2015, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks related injuries; 51% of those injuries were to the extremities and 41% were to the head. The NFPA provides multiple resources surrounding fireworks safety, including:
The National Safety Council, a nonprofit organization with the mission of eliminating preventable deaths, also provides information on sparklers, bottle rockets, firecrackers, roman candles, and M-class fireworks along with safety tips to follow when using legal fireworks.
And let's not forget the safety of our pets! In addition to having an emergency plan, here are some specific considerations for pets during July 4th celebrations from the American Veterinary Medical Association:
  • Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades, and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places, and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there's great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
  • Make sure your pets - cats and dogs alike - have identification tags with up-to-date information.
  • Take a current photo of all of your pets - just in case.
  • Make sure the environment is safe and secure. If your neighbors set off fireworks at an unexpected time, is your yard secure enough to keep your pet contained? Are pasture fences secure enough to keep horses or other livestock confined? Evaluate your options, and choose the safest area for your animals. If needed, make improvements to secure the area.
  • Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks. 
Additional tips for firework safety can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Five Minutes or Less for Health Weekly Tips web page.

Professional Development Opportunities
Title: Humanizing Your Agency through Social Media: Humor and Heart
Organization: Justice Clearinghouse
Date: July 24, 2018 at 3:00 PM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Free
Title: Comprehensive Jeanne Clery Act Training
Organization: Clery Center
Dates: August 7-9, 2018
Location: Providence, RI
Fee: Registration fee
Title: L0363 Multi-Hazard Emergency Management for Higher Education
Organization: Federal Emergency Management Agency Emergency Management Institution
Dates: September 18-20, 2018
Location: Holland, MI
Fee: Free

For additional trainings and events, access our searchable online calendar

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.
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