Animal Disaster Responder (ADR)

Certified Animal Rescue Training

The Animal Disaster Responder (ADR) training courses provide in-depth, certified animal rescue training for humane or animal control officers, animal search and rescue (ASAR) responders and those who respond to the needs of animals during manmade and natural disasters.

These classes are designed to give individuals the information and skills needed to meet the basic requirements for FEMA defined Animal Emergency Response (AER) credentialing guidelines.

Successfully completed courses and hours can be applied to agencies working to develop mission-ready AER packages for all levels of disaster response. Whether you are building a local response team or State eligible EMAC (Emergency Management Assistance Compact) resource, these courses will prepare individuals to handle animal-related emergencies that we encounter on a day-to-day basis.

Courses and curriculum incorporate classroom presentations, discussion-based workshops, and hands-on practical application to build on student’s past work experiences.  Some of the courses may have a prerequisite to ensure a student’s knowledge and skill base for safety.

Classes Include
Click on the course name for description and details.

½ Day (4 hours)

This course introduces the fundamentals of search and rescue as it relates to human safety and animals in a disaster situation. Students will be instructed on new guidelines for training relating to ASAR as well as introducing new federal resource typing standards for animal response. The new standards allow for better integration of animal responders with more traditional response efforts. The course includes a table top exercise in planning for a SAR response.

1 Day (8 hours)

In this course you will be instructed on the types of disasters that can affect your area and what problems those disasters can cause. You will then learn about the different sheltering options, how to set up a shelter, working with volunteers, supplies and donation management, dietary needs, procedures for tracking animals, basic health protocols, custodial responsibility and laws for animals that may affect the ASAR responder, humane or animal control officer.

Emergency animal shelter training includes four hours of tabletop and interactive exercises for the ASAR responder, humane or animal control officer on the development of co-located and intake facility development for displaced animals. Exercises include proper documentation associated with planning financial and logistic needs during the event.


½ Day (4 hours)


This animal behavior and handling course provides instruction on the safe handling of small and non-traditional animals that are under stress, using humanely acceptable techniques. Through class instruction and hands-on exercises you will learn common behavior, body language and flight zones, handling precautions, fear and aggression warning signs, signs of stress, methods of capture and restraint used by the responder.


Equipment needed: Gloves, sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots.

 ½ Day (4 hours)

This class will cover the commonly encountered zoonotic organisms that may be hazardous to responders and animals as well as specific diseases that could be used in bio-terrorism. Emphasis will be placed on what is normal and how to recognize what is abnormal. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and biosecurity will be demonstrated.


2 Days (16 hours)

When it comes to small companion animals, rescuers can usually count on enough strength to overcome most situations. But what happens when the victim is up to ten times your weight? This training gives classroom and hands-on instruction with some of the large animals we encounter. Students will learn how to safely deal with large animals in emergency situations; affect a rescue by modifying and using equipment they already have; types of specialized equipment that can make rescue more efficient; rope and harnessing systems to move large animals; and what to do with them after you rescue them.

Equipment needed: Gloves, sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots and helmet.

Click here for a full description of the BULL class.

½ Day (4 hours)

Laying out an ASAR operation or daily duties, whether in an urban or rural environment, is challenging. This class will orient you to the basic uses of a GPS unit, compass and maps to navigate new locations. Students will work through practical situations using a map and compass in a new environment. This class examines the basics of both road maps and topographic maps used in emergency situations.


Practical scenarios will differ given class locations. Map and compass provided.


2 Days (16 hours)

This course builds upon the ASAR skills received in low angle rope rescue and animal behavior taught in the prerequisite BULL class. Students will receive training in the operations level skills of rope rescue of people and animals. This highly involved hands on training provides instruction in situational safety and incident assessment, rope and harnessing systems, mechanical advantage riggings, raising and lowering techniques, low and steep angle rescue and techniques for safe handling of animals during extractions.


Equipment necessary for class: sturdy hiking boots or work boots, heavy/ sturdy gloves for rope work, climbing/safety helmet, clothing appropriate for adverse conditions.


Prerequisite – must have attended a BULL class or equivalent.

1 Day (8 hours)

Materials hazardous to animals and humans can come in many forms for responders. In this course you will be given technician level instruction in identifying sources of contamination, how to recognize different types of hazardous materials, decontamination and what personal protective equipment (PPE) to use.



2 Days (16 hours)

Rescuing animals from floodwaters can bring about its own set of challenges. This course gives you both classroom instruction and in-the-field slackwater training. You will learn about the hazards of working in urban and rural floodwater, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other equipment needed to execute ASAR tasks. Instruction also includes challenges of animal rescue in flood water, boat operation as well as safety and decontamination procedures for equipment.


Equipment needed: Gloves and boots for water, dry suit, water helmet, approved personal floatation device (PFD).


2 Days (16 hours)

Training is comprised of animal emergency management issues focusing on urban interface during wildland fire events. Instruction includes relevant studies from S-190 Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior and S-130 Firefighter Training. Participants will examine the challenges related to animal evacuation and response considerations for both small and large animals. “AFTER” training will include practical scenario exercises and discussions pertaining to hazard mitigation and situational awareness. This course is developed to enhance firefighter skill sets as well as providing animal emergency responders the ability to better integrate with primary responders on scene.

2 Hours


This course provides the ASAR responder, humane or animal control officer with an awareness level in emergency assessment and stabilization of injured animals (large and small). Students will be instructed on how to assess an animal’s injuries utilizing a 2 minute evaluation and how to relay that information to the veterinarian. We will cover assessment, triage, stabilization and movement of animals we may encounter during a disaster. This section includes classroom instruction and practical assessment of animals.

1 Day (8 Hours)

This American Red Cross certified First Aid/CPR/AED course teaches students to recognize and care for a variety of first aid emergencies such as burns, cuts, scrapes, sudden illnesses, head, neck, back injuries, heat and cold emergencies and how to respond to breathing and cardiac emergencies to help victims of any age – adult, infant and child. This full day course includes American Red Cross Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) training as well as the Anaphylaxis and Epinephrine Auto-Injector course. Upon successful completion, participants will receive Red Cross Certification for Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED valid for two years.

Please note: this course receives Red Cross certification not Colorado State University certification.

5 Days (48 hours)

This course is designed for first responders, animal control officers, law enforcement, and others that are involved in emergency or disaster response where animals are affected.  It gives an introduction to just how much goes into effecting an efficient and safe response, and how the involvement of the animal creates more variables to be aware of.  Largely hands-on, the student will benefit from real life scenarios (including a night exercise) and practical applications in handling and rescuing animals safely in various situations. It is designed to be an immersive, long hours per day, real life based disaster response training, working out of BART, Code 3’s Big Animal Rescue Truck, day and night for the entire week.  Housing will be a combination of staying on BART and in tents, and some evening meals will be provided – students should pack clothing, personal foodstuffs and other items as if they were responding to a real event.

Equipment needed: Gloves and boots for water, dry suit, water/safety approved helmet, approved personal floatation device (PFD), sturdy hiking boots or work boots, heavy/ sturdy gloves for rope work, clothing appropriate for adverse conditions (no shorts).

These classes are taught in partnership with Colorado State University for certification. Upon successful completion, students will receive a certificate and are eligible to apply for continuing education credits from Colorado State University. Veterinary professionals may apply to receive CEUs from Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. These courses are all ASAR compliant and meet NFPA standards.

The ADR faculty may include Jim Boller, Brett Huff, Garret Leonard and qualified adjunct instructors.


Dates, Location, Cost
Download registration form or register online (opens in a new window).

Stay Tuned, new classes coming soon!


Contact us if you are interested in scheduling a class in your area.

Download registration form (PDF opens in a new window)

Do you need help with your training expenses? Reach out to your community for help – spread the word about our Sponsor an Officer program, and ask community members to designate their donations for your agency.