Fort Valley State University to serve as site for disaster response training

FVSU's O'Neil Veterinary Building

November 11, 2015 – More than 50 veterinary professionals from across the U.S. will gather at Fort Valley State University Nov. 14-15 for a disaster response training from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) will use FVSU’s O’Neal Veterinary Science Building as a site to train its Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams (VMAT). An AVMA VMAT team is composed of four to six volunteers consisting of veterinarians, veterinary technicians and other animal care specialists. It is a first-response unit designed to provide care to animals in case of disaster or emergency. Teams are available to lend their assistance upon request from state authorities.

Anna Ellis, a veterinary technician for FVSU’s Department of Veterinary Sciences, says the AVMA selected FVSU to serve as a training site because of the centralized location of the classrooms, auditorium and availability of its SAFE (State Animal Facility for Emergencies) Center. “We also have access to live animals of various species to use for hands on training,” Ellis said.

During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Ellis served as part of a VMAT team attending to animals on the Gulf Coast. Ellis says VMAT teams provide an all hazard, all species response to a wide range of situations or events stemming from natural or man-made disasters and disease outbreaks. “Some of the drills and hands on exercises will cover post disaster site assessments, large animal handling and veterinary medicine triage considerations,” Ellis said.

In addition to providing facilities for the training, some FVSU veterinary science students will provide assistance in hosting the event while getting a chance to observe an animal disaster response.

For more information about the AVMA VMAT training, contact Ellis at (478) 825-6424 or send an email to


Caption: Fort Valley State University’s O’Neal Veterinary Science Building is serving as a site for a national training exercise conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Nov. 14-15.


FVSU Agricultural Communications Department
(478) 825-6345