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Membership materials
need to be sent to
or faxed to 508-476-3531. When sending membership info by email, please make sure to put membership info in the subject line.


Welcome to the CMDART Volunteer Page


Since Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, requirements for animal disaster responders and teams have grown more demanding and, some may say, more restrictive. Disasters require volunteers who can maintain structure, skill, humility and strength in chaotic and traumatizing circumstances. Volunteer training before the incident provides the tools to help do this. CMDART provides regular training classes and/or collaborates cross-training with other organizations.


Who are our volunteers?

CMDART volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds, training and skills. Team members have both personal and professional experience with a variety of animals, including family pets, farm and zoo animals, equines, exotics and reptiles. We are actively seeking disaster responders as well as volunteers to help with administrative and logistical functions of the organization.


What does a typical CMDART volunteer do?

There are many ways you can help as a CMDART volunteer. As a disaster responder, you may be called, day or night, to assist with preparedness efforts or crisis situations. We recognize that not everyone can, or wants to, become a disaster responder. Volunteer opportunities are also available to help with membership, fundraising, administrative duties, events coordinating and logistics. Some tasks can be done right from your own home such as data entry, making phone calls and helping with mailings. Additional volunteer opportunities include:


- Grant writing and fundraising
- Resource management and database inventory
- Assistance with towing gear and trailers
- Website calendar updates
- Liaison with towns and agencies
- Shelter search and facility assessments
- Equipment care and service
- Public event attendance and outreach

CMDART Volunteer Requirements

Please review all the membership requirements before making a commitment to CMDART. Remember, there are many ways to serve even if you choose not to do direct response. We sincerely hope that you will make the commitment by completing the required courses, attending meetings and participating in some of our activities and functions. We do hope that you can help build the foundation of our strong, growing team. We look forward to hearing from you.

Application Materials

As part of the application process, the following forms must be completed. No matter what position you choose with the team, all volunteers are required to complete this basic paperwork.

1. Application (link to doc.)

2. Volunteer Release of Liability (link to doc.)

3. Volunteer Welcome Agreement (link to doc.)

4. Rabies Waiver (link to doc.)


Forms can be e-mailed to membership@cmdart.org, faxed to 508-476-3531 or mailed to:



PO Box 1317

Douglas, MA 01516



CMDART Training Requirements

If you decide to become a disaster responder with CMDART, there are basic requirements that must be completed before you are placed on the Call-Down List. The Call-Down List contains the names and contact information for trained volunteers who can assist with preparedness efforts and crisis situations.

The following courses marked with an asterisk* must be completed within the first six months of becoming a volunteer and are REQUIRED before you are allowed to deploy for local, regional or national incidents. We highly recommend that no one deploy without emergency animal shelter training. If you have verifiable experience in emergency animal handling and sheltering, the team lead may recommend you for deployment without taking our EAS (Emergency Animal Sheltering) course.

* CMDART Introduction to Animal Disaster Services*
* Incident Command Training (ICS 100)* http://training.fema.gov/is/searchIS.asp?keywords=ICS+100
* National Incident Management Systems (ICS 700)* http://search.fema.gov/search?q=ICS+700
* CMDART Basic Intake and Interviewing for Emergency Animal Sheltering 101
(we may offer Table Top exercises and short term simulations as a supplement to this training)
* Emergency Animal Sheltering – 1-2 day programs, adaptable
* Disaster Psychology (required when offered )
* Basic First Aid and CPR

Please click on the following link for a complete list of required and recommended trainings.

Volunteer Requirements

If you wish to sign up for a particular course, please contact training@cmdart.org.


Continue to check the CMDART website calendar and your emails for listings and notifications of upcoming courses and events.


Once you have completed your courses, please send a copy of your completed certificates to membership@cmdart.org or fax them to 508-476-3531.

Why all this training? I just want to help animals?

CMDART is a disaster response team that aids animals and pet owners. Because of the strenuous, often challenging work involved in critical incidents, both CMDART and national organizations have established prerequisites for volunteers who wish to respond. CMDART believes it is important for potential volunteers to have an overview of what disaster work entails. We, therefore, offer a beginner’s course called "An Introduction to Animal Disaster Services".


Following the introductory course, volunteers need to complete Incident Command Training (ICS). To strengthen emergency response, the government and those who develop emergency response systems have come up with a common language that they require all responders to know. Whether local, state or national, all are requiring that volunteers have Incident Command Training (ICS). This now includes animal response organizations.


You will be required to complete Federal Emergency Management Agency ICS 100 and 700 certifications. In order to deploy, CMDART volunteers must demonstrate basic and advanced levels of animal disaster response and must make every effort towards personal advancement by attending trainings and practice drills. CMDART offers this training in small groups, or volunteers can take these courses via the Internet. Once you take the training, CMDART maintains a copy of your completed certificate in your volunteer application file with our team.


Spontaneous volunteers

CMDART makes every reasonable effort to insure that only qualified volunteers respond to the emergency facility; however, some incidents require the use of spontaneous volunteers. CMDART is judicious about the use of such volunteers. They are screened, briefed and heavily supervised during an incident or assignment and are usually assigned to indirect service. We realize that not everyone will be able to take all of these courses, nor will trained volunteers always be available for every incident.



CMDART Volunteer FAQ


Is CMDART right for me?

If you choose to be a CMDART disaster responder, you need to be comfortable with organized chaos, complete all CMDART volunteer paperwork, be in good physical health, and take Incident Command training. In addition to animal handling experience, one of the most important skills volunteers need to bring is flexibility. Disasters have a lot of unknowns for the clients and team members at various stages. Disaster responders need to be able to take direction from their leaders and be able to work cohesively in a group at every stage of the response. This is true during the pre-planning phase or when faced with confused and traumatized clients and animals during an incident.

What is the time commitment for becoming a CMDART volunteer?

Any amount of time you choose to devote to CMDART as a volunteer is greatly appreciated. We recognize that members have jobs, family commitments and hardships and may not always be available. As a disaster responder, we hope that you can be available for several calls throughout the year, and that you will prepare your work and family, including your pets, for the potential that you could be called. Members are also encouraged to attend as many trainings, public events and meetings as possible to help build team cohesiveness and to stay informed of changing practices.

Is there a cost to become a volunteer?

Currently, there is no membership fee required to join CMDART. Unlike some national organizations with larger budgets, CMDART cannot afford to pay volunteers for deployment expenses. Your transportation and expenses are considered your personal contribution to the organization and the disaster. Because we are a 501(c)3 charitable, non-profit, the government does allow you to take verifiable volunteer expenses, including mileage, as a tax deduction.

In the event I am called to respond to a disaster, who is going to care for my own animals?

Volunteers must make pre-arrangements for their families, including pets and animals, in the event they are deployed. CMDART does not reimburse for any expense incurred for family, pet, or animal care.

What about liability?

Volunteers are trained to work within the scope of their respective practice, licensure, training, and skill level. Volunteers sign a waiver releasing the organization and its affiliates from responsibility for any incident that may occur during his or her time with CMDART, whether at a disaster response or other non-disaster event. As a volunteer, you are covered by the Good Samaritan and Volunteer Acts. However, it is also your personal responsibility to carry liability and medical coverage. Often, your Homeowners Policy will have a clause covering you for volunteer service.

Prior to responding to a call from a local town, CMDART requires that the town sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). These are generally completed in advance of an incident, during the planning phase of working with a town.

Do you have the right stuff to help us with stuff?
Resource Management help needed

The Central Massachusetts Disaster Animal Response Team, Inc. (CMDART, Inc) is looking for volunteers to assist with the "Logistics and Resource Management" function of our team. Logistics is the ordering, organizing, inventory, cleaning and sometimes the transport of equipment before, after and during an emergency event. Equipment includes everything from animal crates to blankets, generators, tents, medical response equipment and the like. Transporters are also needed. Individuals with towing gear on their vehicles are needed (2"ball) to help move trailers. You do not need to a tow vehicle nor do you have to respond to an incident to help with logistics. If you choose to be available for incidents as well, you need to be comfortable with organized chaos, complete all CMDART volunteer paperwork, be in good physical health, and take Incident Command training. Please contact Membership@cmdart.org if you can assist with this function or know of someone who can assist with logistics and resource management.

Email Us

for Membership

Documents & Downloads

New Member Letter

CMDART Brochure


CMDART Volunteer

Volunteer Release
Of Liability

Volunteer Welcome

Rabies Waiver



IS 10, 11 Animals
in Disaster,
Module A and B


Shelter Facilities
survey agreement

To arrange an agreement with your town, agency, or organization contact

Emergency Kit



Opportunities to volunteer in
addition to CMDART

Many of our volunteers are cross-trained with other organizations including The State of Massachusetts Animal Disaster Response Team (SMART), Community Emergency Response Teams in their local towns, the Medical Reserve Corp. the American Red Cross and national/ international animal disaster organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States, the American Humane, Red Rover, the ASPCA, Noah's Wish, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. By joining CMDART and meeting our qualifications, organizations such as these can and do call upon us because they know we have trained, qualified and credentialed team members. Many of our people, however, do belong to these organizations separately or in addition to membership with CMDART. Please refer to our Liaison page to link to these organizations to learn more and to complete their volunteer requirements.