The goal of this article is to present lessons learned from the devastating effects of two specific natural disasters in Texas: Tropical Storm Allison, which flooded Houston in June 2001, and Hurricane Ike, which caused severe damage in Galveston in September 2008. When a disaster is predictable, good predisaster planning can help to save animals' lives. However, as disasters are usually not predictable and tend not to follow a script, that plan needs to be easily adaptable and flexible. It should address all aspects of the program and include an evacuation strategy for the animals, data backup, and identification of emergency equipment such as generators and communication systems. Media communication must also be considered as the general public may become emotional about animal-related issues; adverse attention and public scrutiny can be expected if animals die. The psychological impact of the disaster on the lives of those it directly affects may require attention and accommodation in the postdisaster recovery period. Following an overview of each disaster we describe plans for recovery, impacts on research, business continuity programs, and planning and preparation strategies developed against future natural disasters. Long-term planning includes building design as an important factor in protecting both the animals and the research equipment. Lessons learned include successful responses, evaluation for improvements, and preparedness plans and procedures to guard against future disaster-related destruction or loss of facilities, research programs, and animal lives.
|Publication Title||ILAR Journal|
|Author Address||Center for Laboratory Animal Medicine and Care, University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, 6431 Fannin Street, Room MSE R542, Houston, TX 77030-1503, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org|
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