Training with the VET
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in the
Veterinary Emergency Team’s (VET) annual exercise. It involved
veterinarians, technicians, and other College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) faculty, staff, and alumni
all coming together to assist in a mock disaster situation.
Mikaela (far left) and her peers—Emily, Luke, and Katlyn—feeling
like astronauts as they donned the personal protection equipment
the VET occasionally uses during deployments
The scenario for the three-day event involved two different
explosions in South Texas. We “deployed” in smaller (strike) teams,
made our way to the disaster sites, and then set up the VET
trailers (mobile medical platforms) they use during actual
Mock cases would come in over the radio and teams would walk
through how they would handle each situation and treat the cases,
some of which involved, cats, dogs, horses, and cattle. You have to
be ready for anything in these types of situations, which is why
practicing is so important.
You also have to approach them differently than an everyday
clinic situation—you don’t have the same equipment or personnel, or
the history of the animal. Some of the cases involved animals that
were injured in the blast; some of them were animals that had been
stranded and just needed help finding their owners. As you finished
a case, a new case would come in.
I was the controller for my team, so my job was to give
information about the patients as my team asked for it, including
blood values, microchip information, and radiation readings (one
scenario included an explosion at a nuclear power facility). It was
an interesting situation to be in because I got to watch the teams
work through each case and see the types of questions that the
teams asked in each scenario.
At the end of the day, all of the teams came together for a
We also got to practice putting on personal protective equipment
(PPE), which are special hazard suits that protect you in scenarios
that include known or unknown chemicals that you could be exposed
to. I was able to learn how to put on the suit and felt like an
Overall, it was a great day and I learned so much about how the
VET works and responds in disaster situations.