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Disaster Plan for EWU Animal Facility


Disasters affecting animal facilities may be of three general types: natural events (related to weather or geology), technical emergencies (such as mechanical failures or chemical spills), and civil emergencies (terrorism, vandalism). Disasters may result in an inability to maintain normal conditions in the animal facility and/or an inability of personnel to reach the animal facility, thus potentially threatening the health and welfare of animals.

The EWU animal facility has been affected by two natural disasters in the last 25 years: the eruption of Mount St Helens in 1980 and the ice storm in 1996. There have been no major technical emergencies in the current facility, and no civil emergencies. Therefore emergencies are expected to be rare, but likely, in the future.

Telephone numbers for important personnel and departments shall be posted on the animal facility bulletin board, at the EWU Police Department, the Cheney Police Department, and the Cheney Fire Department. The telephone numbers shall include those for:

EWU personnel: animal facility director, veterinarian, animal technician, student workers, IACUC chair, Department of Biology chair, and all faculty with current research or teaching projects using animals.

EWU and emergency departments: EWU Physical Plant, EWU Police Department, Cheney Police Department, Cheney Fire Department.

The animal facility director, animal technician, IACUC chair, Department of Biology chair, and Department of Biology secretary shall keep current copies of the list.
Response Team

The animal facility director shall coordinate disaster responses. If this individual is not available, then the IACUC chair shall serve as coordinator. The coordinator shall determine which other people need to be called.

The remainder of the response team may include the animal technician, student workers, faculty who are members of the IACUC or who currently are using animals, and others as determined by the coordinator. The veterinarian shall be consulted if animal health appears to be threatened.
Critical Functions

The following functions shall be maintained in all emergencies:

* Air temperature surrounding the animals shall remain between 4°C and 26°C.
* The air surrounding the animals shall be free of harmful contaminants.
* All animals shall be observed periodically, with the interval depending on conditions, but at least every 24 hr, to the extent possible.
* Animal identification must be retained.

If an emergency lasts 6 hr or more, the following functions shall be maintained:

* Air ventilation shall be available.
* All animals shall have access to a bottle of potable water.
* All animals shall have access to uncontaminated food.

If an emergency lasts 24 hr or more, the following functions shall be maintained:

* Animals' cages shall be cleaned as needed.
* Stored food shall be kept at 4°C or lower.

Preparations for Emergencies

Flashlights and extra batteries shall be located in several places within the animal facility. All staff and faculty who work in the animal facility shall know where they are located.

Large containers of potable water shall be kept in the animal facility. The quantity shall be sufficient to provide drinking water for all the animals for at least one day.

Large fans shall be stored in the animal facility to provide air circulation if ventilation is lost.

An impermeable drape shall be installed above the outside door of the animal facility. If the outside air is contaminated, the drape may be lowered over the door to reduce contamination inside the animal facility. The drape shall allow people to go through the outside door in an emergency, but people shall use the doors to the inside hallway instead unless it is absolutely necessary to open the outside door.

Important files on the animal facility computers shall be backed up regularly, and the backup discs shall be kept outside the Science Building.

Guidelines for Responding to Emergencies


If a disaster such as an approaching storm or volcanic ash is predicted to occur, and is expected to prevent personnel from reaching the animal facility, and if personnel have sufficient preparation time, and animals will be safest remaining in the animal facility, then personnel shall prepare the animal facility to allow the animals to survive on their own. Steps to be taken include filling all water bottles with clean water and filling all food containers.

If a disaster occurs within the animal facility, or within the Science Building, such as a fire, excess heat, or chemical spill, and the animal facility becomes a harmful environment, then the animals shall be moved to a safe location, to the extent possible. Safe locations may include hallways, research labs, or classrooms within the Science Building, other buildings on campus, buildings off campus, or the outdoors, depending on the situation. Animals shall remain in their home cages.

If personnel have limited time to move or otherwise take care of animals, and there is not time to take care of all animals, then the animals shall be helped with the following priority: 1) animals participating in grant-funded research; 2) animals participating in thesis research; 3) animals participating in other research or class projects; 4) other animals.

If animals are to remain in the animal facility without ventilation, and air contamination is not expected, then all doors within the animal facility shall remain open to improve air movement within the facility.

If animals are to remain in the animal facility without ventilation for an extended period, and the outside air is uncontaminated and cooler or the same temperature as air inside the animal facility, then the outside door may remain open and fans used to circulate the air. At least one person must remain (and be awake) in the animal facility whenever the outside door remains open.

If the animals are outdoors, even briefly, one person must remain with them at all times.

If the outside air contains harmful contaminants and the air inside the animal facility is cleaner, ventilation to the animal facility shall be shut down by contacting ... The drape shall be lowered to cover the outside door to the facility. Animal room doors shall be opened to the animal facility hallway to improve air movement within the facility.

If animals have been receiving medication to alleviate suffering, administration of the drug shall continue, to the extent possible.

Animals shall be euthanized as soon as possible if they are suffering and not expected to recover.

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