Dear HALTER Community:
We extend our heartfelt hopes that, wherever you are, and whatever your current circumstances, you, your family, and your animals are safe and cared for, and that you are somewhere that feels like home. So many of us live in areas hit by the full force of nature, and lives have been forever changed. As we move into autumn, we send our thoughts to you all.

Community outreach for Animal Emergency Preparedness and First Responder Animal Awareness and Safety are the dual "missions" of The HALTER Project. Since 2014, we've been reaching out to our neighborhood, and other communities around California, to help people live more safely and prepare for emergencies.

Connected by the "human-animal" bond, our "community" has grown to include people all over the USA and nearly every continent. At the core of "preparedness" is the goal of keeping families and communities together.

Our recent experience with epic wildfires that destroyed entire rural and suburban neighborhoods, many farms and ranches, and much of our largest city, Santa Rosa, has reinforced the importance of community in an increasingly disconnected world. While my house survived, my animals have all been sent away because their pastures and shelters were destroyed and their environment is not safe. My space feels very empty and my anchor is adrift.

For many, our community is our family. Animals are vital, not only as a livelihood or hobby, but also to our feeling of well-being, connectedness, and home. 

We survived with our animals in very challenging "shelter-in-place" conditions, with no time or escape route to evacuate. We had a plan, and it worked. Many of our ranching neighbors were similarly  prepared. We realize we could have done some things better. We hope that sharing our story and lessons learned will be useful. 

We have received many requests to help organize neighborhood groups, HOA, and club "preparedness plans", and have included lots of  great resources and links to help you organize.

We've updated the  HALTER Project website  to include more "Ways to Help" donation links supporting local disaster relief in Northern California, Texas, Kansas, and the Southeast, as well as links to programs that support animals in Emergency & Disasters year-round, first responder training, and education. We hope you will use the website as a "go-to" resource. Please encourage others to share your commitment to preparedness. No matter what your level of ability, time, and interest - everyone can be READY FOR WHATEVER!
Sheltering-in-Place during the "Nuns Fire", Glen Ellen, CA
In the middle of the "the morning after", (Monday, October 9th), I started a diary. I stopped making entries a few hours later, and never resumed --the magnitude of the events was just too great. I realized my "diary" was contained in several hundred text messages that were running conversations, commentary, updates, and sad/funny exchanges with friends. It's the 21st century version of a disaster journal.  Here's what happened, what I learned, and what I'll do to be better prepared for...whatever.

Nuns Fire burns through Atwood Ranch
Elizabeth greets the fiery dawn
Elizabeth watches her shed burn
UC Davis Student-VERT
Santa Rosa thanks First Responders
Lessons Learned
Surviving without power, light, heat, running water, or good communications for a day or 2 was not too challenging for an older couple with no kids. But, after 48 hours, comfort becomes important. When you cannot sleep, small things can make a huge difference. 
Here are a few things that made life better for me.
The Role of Volunteers in Disasters
UCD Student-VERT rescue Koi during Tubbs Fire
Trained volunteers play critical roles in every disaster.  Without them, shelters would be chaotic, unhealthy, and unsafe. Communications would be slow, and, in some cases, severely compromised. Food and services would be in short supply. And, animals would be underserved.

In the recent fires, community members sprang into action to evacuate, work in shelters, feed and water animals. In many instances, their efforts made a big difference to the welfare of animals and their owners. 
Ways to Get Involved
NVADG and IFAW Team members at Large Animal Shelter during Wall Fire, 7/2017
There are several ways you can help during emergencies and disasters depending on your time, availability to train, and physical abilities. Regardless of your age and skills, there's always a place for a trained, informed, and ready volunteer.
Find out if your region has a Community Animal Response Team, (CART), an Animal Disaster Service Response Team, (DART), or, other recognized volunteer response group. 

For information about joining or starting a community Animal Emergency Response Team, check with your county's Office of Emergency Services (OES), local animal welfare organizations, or your Ag Extension Service

You can also donate to support the resources in your neighborhood who provide services for animals in emergencies and disasters. New resources are stepping up every month!

FEMA On-line Education
To volunteer during an emergency 
o disaster,  there are certain requirements that must be met, regardless of your role. Basic preparation will always include completion of FEMA ICS 100 and ICS 200 . These courses are available online for free, and can be completed at your own pace.
FEMA ICS Org Chart
Another great on-line course for anyone i
nterested in volunteerin g to work with animals, or being better prepared is FEMA IS-10.A Animals in Disasters: Awareness & Preparedness

Understanding the Incident Command System, (ICS) , is a requirement of every volunteer group that provides assistance to emergency services. "Self-deployed" volunteers are often counterproductive to efficient rescue efforts and frequently put first responders, animals, and themselves at great risk, resulting in loss of effectiveness.
S.C.O.P.E. - Sonoma Citizens Organized to Prepare for Emergencies

This planning guide, developed by Sonoma Valley Fire & Rescue Authority, outlines seven steps to developing neighborhood SCOPE team and providing ongoing support. 

To foster this effort, the Sonoma Valley Fire & Rescue Authority will provide: * Census forms for identifying households in your neighborhood * Guidelines for SCOPE team leaders * Training sessions for SCOPE team leaders * And, attend your neighborhood SCOPE team meeting, when requested.
Every rural neighborhood should have a cache of equipment ready to go and stored in an accessible safety shed or small trailer. Many regions have a DART or CART trailer ready to deploy in emergencies and disasters. Service organizations, businesses, and individuals can join forces to sponsor a trailer or safety shed. 

We are always updating the website. Visit
 to find links to new, helpful, and sometimes, just plain FUN resources.


Write us!! Share your LAR "inspirational story". Tell us about a recent rescue in your area. Send photos of your ready-kits. We want to hear from you!
HALTER  | (707) 318-7526 | 
12099 Sonoma Hwy, Glen Ellen, CA 95442