GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — BISSELL Pet Foundation, in partnership with Animal Search and Rescue Training and Response (ASAR), has launched a new initiative to support animals and people who care for them before, during and after disaster strikes. Animal Incident Management (AIM) provides resources to emergency management teams and communities, such as animal search and rescue, pre-event planning to post-event recovery, shelter support and humanitarian efforts where people and animals are assisted together.
With 70% of U.S. households owning pets, increasing extreme weather events, and decreasing community capacity during crises and disasters, BISSELL Pet Foundation is taking action to ensure pets are prioritized. During a disaster, BISSELL Pet Foundation’s AIM initiative will work with emergency management and Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), like American Red Cross, to give pet owners a sense of continuity as they rebuild their lives with their animals after an event. The AIM initiative is unique in that it provides a holistic approach to building stronger, disaster-capable communities to better ensure the safety of people and their pets.
“At BISSELL Pet Foundation, we work tirelessly to support pets and the people caring for them when the unimaginable becomes a reality. After our lifesaving response to Hurricane Ian in 2022, we knew we needed to continue to strengthen our crisis and disaster capabilities to save even more lives before, during and after disasters strike.” said Cathy Bissell, Founder of BISSELL Pet Foundation. “I am excited to announce the addition of ASAR Director Eric Thompson as Executive Director of Disaster & Field Response for BISSELL Pet Foundation. Together with ASAR, BISSELL Pet Foundation’s AIM initiative will break down the remaining barriers impacting pet homelessness that include disaster preparedness and vital training and mentorship.”
Beyond disaster preparedness and response, AIM will assist animal welfare organizations in crisis through collaborative mentorship and training resources. By deploying the nation’s leading subject matter experts for boots-on-the-ground support, AIM can act as a helping hand when animal shelters have nowhere else to turn to for assistance. With a focus on rural animal shelters, which often lack resources to achieve positive outcomes for adoptable pets, this lifesaving initiative empowers shelters with sustainable programs and practices.
“AIM will be a force multiplier for communities as we focus on supporting local efforts or providing outside resources to handle an animal-related surge response during a disaster or emergency event,” said Eric Thompson, Executive Director of Disaster & Field Response for AIM and Director of ASAR. “Creating infrastructure in the form of training, emergency action planning, and utilization of existing BISSELL Pet Foundation initiatives will be a priority as we ‘AIM’ to make a difference in the communities we serve.”
BISSELL Pet Foundation is committed to aiding animal welfare organizations during times of crisis and disaster. AIM’s fully integrated and hands-on approach to crisis and disaster response creates the best possible outcomes for animals and the people caring for them during emergencies. To follow BISSELL Pet Foundation’s work and make a lifesaving gift, please visit www.bissellpetfoundation.org.
Learn more about AIM or make a lifesaving donation by visiting bissellpetfoundation.org.
About BISSELL Pet Foundation:
BISSELL Pet Foundation is a charitable 501©(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to help reduce the number of animals in shelters through pet adoption, spay/neuter programs, microchipping and crisis and disaster response. Founded in 2011 by Cathy Bissell, BPF is an extension of her long-standing love for animals and commitment to their welfare. BPF has since partnered with more than 5,700 shelters and rescues across the U.S. and Canada to help pets find loving homes. The foundation is supported by generous donors and BISSELL Homecare, Inc. where every purchase saves pets. To learn more and donate, visit www.bissellpetfoundation.org.