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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:52 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:27 am
Posts: 1100
by: Simon Moya-Smith

Emergency evacuation team seeks mountain-area volunteers

Laurel George really hopes her cat escaped.

In 2000, the Hi Meadow Fire took her home in Bailey. George was not home when the flames engulfed her cabin. There was a cat door, she says, and she hopes her beloved pet used it to bolt to safety.

Now, 11 years later, George can be found clad in fire-retardant gear saving other people's pets as an Animal EVAC volunteer.

The nonprofit organization founded in 2002 is an emergency response team charged with rescuing small animals in crisis situations.

George, a four-year veteran of Animal EVAC, said once she discovered the organization, she promptly joined.

The all-volunteer team is now looking to add more to its ranks.

Animal EVAC representatives will hold two informational meetings for new volunteers from 7 to 9 p.m. April 27 at Inter-Canyon Fire Station No. 1, 7939 S. Turkey Creek Road, Morrison; and from 9 to 11 a.m. April 30 at Elk Creek Fire Station 1, 11993 Blackfoot Road, Conifer.
For more information, call 303-697-2881 or go to

President Chuck Cubbison said there is no obligation to join for anyone who attends the meetings, but those who wish to sign up should prepare for some lifesaving training.

"The two-hour orientation tells people how we operate and what our legal authority is," he said. It includes "best practices to know how to operate within the framework of a crisis situation."

For volunteers, further training includes radio communication, animal handling and procedures on how to haul trailers for small animals, among others.

Cubbison said although Animal EVAC primarily responds to wildfire crises, the organization will respond in other emergency situations.

"Anything you can think of," he said, citing blizzards, tornadoes and floods.

George's fire rescue effects include fireproof pants and shirts, including a bag with the necessary materials: dog treats, leashes and, of course, water.

"I love animals, and I feel horrible for people that are in distress," she said, adding that she cannot foresee an end to her tenure as volunteer.

Cubbison remarked, "For most people, the animals are the first concern ... and sometimes their only concern."
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