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On December 31, 2012, the US Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published a final rule that requires all dealers, exhibitors, intermediate handlers, carriers, research facilities, and other entities regulated by the Agency under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), to take additional steps to better prepare for potential disaster situations. Registered entities are required to develop a plan for responding to and recovering from emergencies most likely to happen to their facility, as well as train their employees on those plans and review the plans annually. Facilities are required to have a plan in place by July 29, 2013.

Similarly, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals requires that animal facilities have a disaster plan that:

“…should define the actions necessary to prevent animal pain, distress, and deaths due to loss of systems such as those that control ventilation, cooling, heating, or provision of potable water. If possible the plan should describe how the facility will preserve animals that are necessary for critical research activities or are irreplaceable…Animals that cannot be relocated or protected from the consequences of the disaster must be humanely euthanized. The disaster plan should identify essential personnel who should be trained in advance in its implementation.” (The Guide, p. 35)

The Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine (DLAM) has developed a plan that covers animals used and housed in the centralized vivaria. In an effort to meet the aforementioned requirements for animals used outside of DLAM-controlled space (e.g., investigator-maintained housing or surgery rooms, short-term procedure rooms), we have developed the UCLA Animal Emergency Plan, which is to be reviewed, implemented, and maintained by all Principle Investigators (PIs) of labs that use animals.

At this time, we need you to:

  1. Print a copy of the attached Plan and make it readily accessible in each of your rooms where animals are maintained and/or used. IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to ensure campus-wide compliance, you will be asked to produce a copy of your Plan at the time of ARC inspection.
  2. Complete requested information on pages i, iii, 3-30, 6-1, and 6-3.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the contents of the Plan.
  4. Ensure that all lab members that work with animals have access to the Plan and have reviewed it.
  5. Ensure that any individual identified as the Lab Primary Contact is aware of this designation and is their role in emergency operations.

Please be advised that training on the disaster plan is a critical component of both the APHIS and Guide statements on disaster planning. We expect to prepare and roll-out a training course for all PIs in the next 60 days.

We hope you find the information provided in the attached Plan to be useful. If you have any recommendations or notice errors in the text, please contact Art Kirkland, Director – Office of Emergency Management.