The Florida Veterinary Corps is a volunteer-driven program that assists local officials in responding to animal emergencies, most often natural disasters. Volunteers can choose to serve in various capacities, such as veterinary infrastructure assessment teams, triage or emergency animal treatment teams, and animal disease surveillance/control teams.

By joining the Corps, you have the power to save lives, provide relief, and make a meaningful impact on both animals and people affected by natural disasters.

You may be wondering what the Florida State Agricultural Response Team (SART) and the FVMA do – and what you can expect if you join the Florida Veterinary Corps.


What Do SART and the FVMA Do?

The Florida Veterinary Corps is a cooperative program of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and its Florida State Agricultural Response Team (Florida SART), Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA), and the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine (UFCVM).

Who Can Join?

Licensed veterinarians and veterinary technicians able to practice in Florida can sign up to join the Corps. Aspiring volunteers must complete four (4) Incident Command System (ICS) training courses to be eligible to apply for The Corps. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides the courses online, free of charge.

What Can You Expect as a Member?

When activated, volunteers work within an incident command structure under state Emergency Support Function 17 as part of the State Emergency Response Team. This ensures efficient coordination and response during emergencies.

Volunteers are kept informed as to the status of emergencies and the need for volunteers depending upon the specific situation. The FVMA serves as the point of contact for calling volunteers after a disaster, while also hosting the volunteer application online and maintaining the volunteer list year-round.

In case of an animal and agricultural emergency, various agencies will collaborate to address critical and unmet needs. If additional veterinary or animal care support is required, Florida SART will work with the FVMA to request and coordinate volunteers from the Florida Veterinary Corps.

Additional important information for members to consider:

  • Corps volunteers will serve only when activated and under the Incident Command System, under state Emergency Support Function 17 as part of the State Emergency Response Team, and adhere to all state regulations and rules.
  • Volunteers may serve in veterinary infrastructure assessment teams, triage or emergency animal treatment teams, and animal disease surveillance or control teams under an incident command system.
  • Volunteers will only be activated in response to specific emergency situations. Volunteers called upon may decline service at any time.

So How Do You Join?

Step 1: Register your interest as a volunteer.



Step 2: Complete four ICS trainings.

Visit the FEMA Emergency Management Institute website to take the following required ICS training before submitting your volunteer application for the Florida Veterinary Corps.

Once You Register Your Interest

You become enrolled in our volunteer listserv; however, this does not make you fully qualified to assist in the event of a disaster.

1. To become fully qualified to assist after disaster, you must complete four ICS trainings.

  • We operate within the ICS structure, a standardized protocol for emergency management agencies developed by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Your completion of the four required ICS training courses is crucial for responding as part of the state’s official emergency response team.
  • It also makes you eligible for deployment to other states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) and completes part of your qualification in FEMA’s Resource Typing and Position Qualification system.
  • Please take these courses as soon as you can, this is a pressing and important step to take.

2. We encourage you to become a member of SART as well. Visit flsart.org/registration/ to join.

  • Florida SART is a planning, training, and response multiagency support group. It is comprised of various partner agencies, including the FVMA and UFCVM, which have specific skill sets and resources that can be utilized to address the needs of the state of Florida.
  • Their website offers valuable resources, including news, training opportunities, and an events calendar. You can find your county’s emergency management director and Emergency Support Function 17 coordinator’s contact information here. These are the individuals active in managing animal and agricultural emergencies in your county.


Once You Complete the Four ICS Trainings

You will be a full member of the Florida Veterinary Corps. Now, all you need to do is kickback, relax, and be on the lookout for alerts from the FVMA when volunteers are needed – in other words, don’t worry about calling us, we will call you! Please note that your information will be shared with SART, who may reach out with updates and further opportunities such as workshops and updates from the state.

Please Sign Up!

We need more veterinary professionals like you to save animals and help communities in the wake of disaster. Need some more reasons?

  • Protecting agriculture in Florida begins locally and requires cooperation, participation, and partnership.
  • Federal or other outside assistance to deal with an animal disease emergency may not be available for hours or days.
  • Animal agriculture in Florida is highly vulnerable to severe disruption and financial loss through natural disasters and exotic or zoonotic diseases.
  • Counties and state agencies must be prepared to respond to animal disasters through planning and identification of human and material resources.
  • Natural disasters are unpredictable and cannot be prevented.
  • Florida has a high risk for introduction of a foreign animal disease.