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Tuesday, May 24 • 08:00 - 09:00
Triage, treat and then what? Bushfire, wildlife and SAVEM.

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Bushfires are increasing in Australia and worsening globally within temporal and geographic parameters: the corollary of climate change and increasing severe weather events. Bushfire is news when people, property, infrastructure and animals find themselves in its path. Superimpose on this a shrinking “off” season, the demands of year-round bushfire preparedness, and the migration of wildlife into idyllic human populated habitat. Combine that with 43 degrees and strong northerly winds: the quintessential Australian summer. South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management (SAVEM Inc) was formed in 2009 after the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires devastated that State in just such a scenario. Since then we have responded to bushfires every year, the largest being the Sampson Flat fire in January 2015, and the Pinery fire of November the same year. SAVEM works with all species of animals, and wildlife pose particular challenges. Veterinarians are in a privileged and unique professional position to join the ranks of Emergency responders – bringing clinical, problem solving and counseling skills. But a fireground is a very long way from “business as usual”, and without Emergency Management training a fireground can be a fatal place even after the fire is contained or controlled. This presentation by the SAVEM Coordinator will describe the principles and processes of effective practical Emergency Management as it pertains to operational case studies of recent South Australian fires. It will highlight confronting issues and difficult questions regarding management of wildlife involved in those fires; some lessons learned and why veterinary science has an important place at the table in effectively extending knowledge of natural hazard impacts and consequences

avatar for Dr Rachel Westcott

Dr Rachel Westcott

Coordinator, SAVEM Inc.
Dr Rachel Westcott is a veterinarian in her own private practice in Adelaide’s south. She graduated from Murdoch University in 1999 with first class honours, and is now a PhD candidate with Western Sydney University and the Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC. In 2009, Rachel founded... Read More →

Tuesday May 24, 2016 08:00 - 09:00 ACST
Room L2 Adelaide Convention Centre