Together with the UNA School of Veterinary Medicine (Costa Rica), we organised emergency response training in 2007. A year later, the initiative was transformed into the Training Program for Veterinary Emergency Response Units (VERU).
Ultimately, 'project VERU' aimed to equip trained volunteers to collaborate at national level.
With the aim of reducing community vulnerability, VERU evolved over the years. From 2011 to 2012, climate change adaptation was included to provide veterinarians with competence in risk management and climate change adaptation.
From 2013 to 2014, the project was redesigned as an online course, and risk management was reinforced. In 2015 it was validated in Mexico, which had already started training course instructors. The project then evolved to an online platform of training, now called PrepVet.
The contents of the online course PrepVet are divided into three main aspects, with respective objectives:
Disaster risk management and reduction (DRR)
- Identify the terminology and concepts.
- Identify disasters, and the vulnerabilities of animals at risk.
- Development of a management plan for risk reduction.
- Develop capacities for the management and care of companion animals in the context of disaster management.
Adapting to climate change
- Understand the main concepts of adaptation to climate change and the relationship between DRR and climate change.
Basic animal care in emergencies
- Describe the most relevant aspects of safety in emergencies (safety, biosafety and zoonoses).
- Understand and apply the Incident Command System.
- Understand and apply the triage process (classification of patients during emergencies).
- Properly apply the process for animal evacuation.
- Identify standards and guidelines for Livestock Interventions in Emergencies (LEGS).
- Identify the role of the veterinarian and academia in DRR.
- Understand concepts and fundamentals of animal welfare within the framework of science, ethics and legislation.
The course covers topics related to disaster definitions, concepts related to risk management and climate change. In addition, it presents a new perspective on the role of the veterinarian to support with identification, mapping and risk analysis.
It includes the study of international norms and guidelines that contribute to the design, execution and evaluation of emergency interventions, focused on safeguarding the livelihoods of people affected by an emergency. It also addresses issues related to basic aspects of emergency care and animal management.
The evaluation of the course is divided as follows:
- Short assessments of knowledge at the end of each topic: these short tests are only intended to reinforce concepts that the student must manage to advance with the following topics.
- Partial tests at the end of each of the three main aspects: these tests are individual and must be approved to move to the next aspect. Value of each test 10%.
- Participation in forums: this space will enable the student to put their point of view, from a free and critical, coherent and sustainable perspective, on the subject to be addressed.
- Final research work: this work will be delivered in the final stage of the course and will consist of the application of the acquired knowledge, use of instruments provided, generation of a risk map and the respective risk management plan, among other components.
- Final test: this test will be individual and will include the entire theme of the course. The possibility of a second extension test is offered.