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All-volunteer team helps evacuate horses during emergencies

Volunteers training with H.E.E.T.

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - A group of volunteers on the Central Coast train for disasters - like wildfires - to make sure large animals are not left behind.

In times of emergency, moments matter. We are now in high fire season and the all-volunteer Horse Emergency Evacuation Team (HEET) is prepared.

Established in 2003, HEET is a non-profit, public service organization comprised of volunteers trained to evacuate and shelter horses during a disaster in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

They work closely with CHP, CAL FIRE and police departments to respond during emergencies and help residents evacuate their horses and other livestock.

HEET also pre-registers animals to expedite evacuation. It helps volunteers get a general idea of the terrain, any driveway or access issues, the amount and types of animals needing evacuation, and how to find someone's property.

“Each emergency is different and we just need to be as organized within ourselves  because it is not an organized time,” said Julie Monser, HEET's South County Director.

Their efforts cover other emergencies as well, including highway incidents, loose animals and trailer accidents.

HEET is looking for more volunteers for support in communications, transportation, billeting of animals, education, registration of large animals, clerical work, fundraising, and managing social content.

For more information, visit their website.

Article Topic Follows: Animals

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Genelle Padilla


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