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“The only Northern California Preparedness Event for the Whole Community”

Home and Ranch Fire-Readiness Summit

May 1, 2018

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The Home & Ranch Readiness Summit is a FREEcommunity event being held at The Sonoma County Fairgrounds,350 Bennett Valley Rd, Santa Rosa, May 17 through 19, 2018. The event helps pet, equine, and livestock owners prepare themselves, their families, and their animals for emergencies and disasters in a fun and informative environment and provides a forum for everyone from residents to professional first responders to connect, network, and train.

The three-day event will feature educational resources, demonstrations, speakers, and real-life stories. Started in 2014 as Sonoma Valley Emergency Preparedness Day, the Summit is the only Bay Area preparedness event that benefits all residents, with an emphasis on those who own animals, and connects the whole community. This year’s event promises to be an inspirational and empowering day in Sonoma County.

While most activities over the three days of the event are open to the public, some trainings on Thursday and Friday are geared mainly towards first responders, veterinarians, search and rescue, and other professionals and students in the Emergency Response, Animal Welfare, and Public Safety fields. Saturday is Home & Ranch Readiness Day from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, and is aimed at the general public, with demonstrations, workshops, films, and lively interactive presentations for all ages. Home & Ranch Readiness Day guests are asked to register via the Whova link on the event website, but it is not required.

Pre-registration is required for all Thursday and Fridaytrainings, and some trainings have nominal certification fees. Saturday evening there will be an invitation-only event: HALTER Honors the Heroes, recognizing individuals, organizations, agencies and businesses that have had a positive impact upon preparedness in their communities.

Thursday, May 17 – First Responder Day (8:30 am to 8:30 pm)

  • Rescue equipment & trailer displays & demo
  • Mini Training: Intro to Animal Technical Rescue, 2 sessions (free)
  • Highlight Canine & Large Animal rescue equipment, Response Team Mobile Units
  • Training: Caring for Working Canines in the Field (free)

Friday, May 18 – Community Partners Day (8:30 am to 4:00 pm)

  • Animal Technical Awareness, Large Animal Rescue Co. CA SFM-FSTEP Certification Course (fee)
  • Equipment & trailer displays & demos all day, on the lawn
  • Workshop: Social Media Communications in Disasters: Working Together for Greater Resilience

Saturday, May 19 – Home & Ranch Readiness Day (9:30 am to 4:00 pm)

  • How to Be a Better Helper: Becky McConnico, DVM, Keynote Speaker
  • Volunteer Info Corral & Workshop
  • Animal Rescue equipment displays & demos
  • Ready-Kit Alley with ideas & products for purchase
  • Preventing “A Failure to Communicate” on the Trail or on the Ranch
  • Visit and tour Mobile Response Units
  • Videos: Caring for K-9 Partners in Disasters & in the Field; Technical Rescue on Land & in the Air
  • Demonstration: Helping Horses When They’re Down-UCD VERT, Sonoma Valley Animal Emergency Response Team
  • Demonstration: Working Dogs in Action!
  • Come Together! The Community that Trains Together Stays Together! How to be a safe & responsible volunteer
  • The Last Responders: Rescuing & Reuniting Cats & People; Learn how to help YOUR displaced cats
  • Fur, Feathers, & Fins: No Animal Left Behind: Stories from the North Bay Wildfires

Northern California pet owners and anyone handling horses or livestock for business or pleasure need to be prepared for all emergencies. Between fire, flood, earthquakes, and more garden-variety emergencies on roads, homes, and ranches, Sonoma County residents and first responders often face potential challenges involving animals large and small. Last year, the always-present possibility of a disaster became a reality for many when devastating fires swept the state, endangering homes, schools, pets, livestock, and businesses. The Home & Ranch Readiness Summit was created by Julie Atwood and her team at the HALTER Project in 2014 to provide emergency preparedness information and resources to residents with animals in their care and who live close to, or within, the rural or wild areas of the North Bay.

“When animals’ lives are jeopardized, humans often put themselves and others at great risk. We saw in last year’s fires that self-sufficiency and readiness were key to survival and protection of lives and property. This year’s expanded Home & Ranch Readiness Summit aims to prepare our community for individual emergencies and regional disasters like wildfires, floodsand earthquakes, which exact a huge toll on both humans and animals,” says Julie Atwood, the HALTER Project’s founder. Atwood, an avid equestrienneand rancher, founded the HALTER Project in 2013 to raise community awareness, connect responders with resources, and promote emergency preparedness throughout the North Bay. Continues Atwood, “No one likes to think of worst-case scenarios, but good training and preparation put us in a better position to take care of ourselves and loved ones. The Home & Ranch Readiness Summit helps take away the fear of ‘what if’ and actually makes emergency preparedness fun.”

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