CMDART is an independent, charitable, non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization. We provide information, training,
support, supplies and personnel to help plan, prepare and respond to aid animals affected by man-made
or natural disasters at all levels of disasters according to our capabilities and resources.

Press Release


Human and animal disaster trainings held in the valley



Blackstone Valley – The Central Massachusetts Disaster Animal Response Team, Inc (CMDART) participated in two significant trainings this past month to aid preparedness for  natural or man-made disasters in our region.  CMDART worked in cooperation with the Tri-Epic Regional Planning Committee and Harrington Hospital  who organized a practice exercise that focused on  preparedness for a hazardous material incident.  CMDART set up a live animal decontamination exercise as part of the exercise because nearly all disasters will include service dogs, pets and pet owners.  (More)






Cambridge woman reunited with cats after massive 10-alarm fire

By Aimee Ortiz and Christina Prignano Globe Staff  December 07, 2016

Count two furry felines among the lives saved after a sprawling 10-alarm fire in Cambridge destroyed multiple homes Saturday.
Lieutenant Brian Casey of the Cambridge Fire Department’s Engine Nine company reunited Cambridge resident Christina Jeffrey with her two cats, 10-year-old brothers named Mac and Cheese, after finding them in the vestiges of a first-floor apartment on Berkshire Street the morning after the blaze. The heartwarming moment was captured on camera and has now captured the hearts of tens of thousands.
Casey had been monitoring any residual fires on Berkshire Street Sunday when he was approached by a resident and her mother asking about two cats that were in an apartment at the time of the blaze. According to Casey, firefighters entered the home where the cats lived, albeit with little hope. Full Story


CMDART Seeking President/Chairman and other Board Positions
Applications to be accepted during August and September 2016

For 13 years, we have provided information, training, support, supplies and personnel to help plan, prepare and respond to disasters throughout Central Massachusetts. This 501(c)3 was developed from the ground up and is one of the most active animal disaster response teams in the State. With many great accomplishments behind us, we continue to build out the organizational structure for streamlined disaster response. 

We are currently seeking candidates for a volunteer to serve as  President and Chairman of the Board to manage the administrative support of our organization. With this possibility of a new President and Chairman, our current Founder and President of 13 years will be able to focus more of her time on the duties of disaster operations services and in continued service as a member of the Board of Directors. Additionally, we are seeking an Events Coordinator, and additional general members for our Board of Directors.


Additional details and job descriptions for the President / Chairman of the Board and General Board of Directors Positions

tags for tails



Tags For Tails a Success

Catee Castonguay and Melissa K help a customer at the Tags for Tails sale in June. This year's event brought in the largest amount of funds in the seven years of holding the annual fundraiser. "It's a lot of work that goes on for months before the event, but we get to educate a lot of people about our organization as well as raising needed funds" said JoAnn Griffin, President and Founder of CMDART. Many thanks to the board members Good's contributors and customers  who all helped in various ways to make the fundraiser this year such a success.







Red Cross Gives New Items to Fire Victims

Members of the American Red Cross Central Mass chapter along with Dillan , one of CMDARTS, ambassadors, demonstrate some of the new gifts given to the Red Cross for fire victims. Portable bowls and leashes graciously contributed from By Nature Pet Food.

MEMA Offers Tips to Protect Your Property From Hurricanes

Important Information for Homeowners and Boat Owners

Throughout this year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is reminding homeowners of steps they can take to protect their property from the strong winds, damaging rains, and flooding that hurricanes or tropical storms can bring to New England.
“There are steps we all can take to make our homes and property more storm resistant,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “Early planning and pre-storm preparation can reduce injuries and the extent of property damage from tropical storms and hurricanes.” For additional tips, click here.
Developing a plan to protect your property during a tropical storm or hurricane starts with understanding the hurricane risks for your area.  If you reside in or near a coastal community, determine whether your home is in a designated hurricane evacuation zone by using the ‘Know Your Evacuation Zone’ interactive map which is located on MEMA’s website at hurricane-evacuation-zonesl

CMDART expands call list for large animal rescue.

On January 12 in Westminster, Charlie, a 26-year-old horse fell on ice about a half a mile into the woods on a trail he commonly walks on. After more then three hours of effort, Charlie and his owner went home.

CMDART complements all those local fire, ACO, and veterinary service providers who rescued this animal. Compliments to the Pepperell Fire Dept. who brought equipment. We wish to thank Ed Hart from our team who deployed at our request to aid some assistance.

CMDART had just recently met with District 7 Technical Rescue Team to work on a mutual aid agreement to be able to help with just this kind of circumstance. Several of our people, some of the District 7 firefighters, animal control officers, and CERT members attended either our Nov. 1 Farm and Large Animal Workshop or a specialized workshop held in Shirley taught by the MSPCA. Equine Ambulance program, led by Roger Lauze, primary trainer for the Equine Rescue program.

CMDART has hosted several large animal emergency rescue trainings, but our large animal response list has not been as comprehensive as it could be. People work and have animals to care for themselves. While several trained volunteers were called during the day of Jan. 12, several could not respond., Our list can never be large enough. We aim to correct that by collecting data about all those who have taken large animal rescue training over these 13 years of our existence.

Dee Clark, our Membership Coordinator, Linda Schnell, our training registrar, and our MSPCA affiliate, are working to collect a comprehensive list of all the trained large animal volunteers who have taken the training and might be available to respond in Central Mass.

CMDART has large animal rescue equipment in West Boylston and Uxbridge, two locations. We hope that creating a more comprehensive data base of large animal responders will help keep large animals like "Charlie", and our partner emergency responders, from having to wait so long for help next time.

If you have taken large animal emergency rescue training and wish to be on our list, please contact Dee Clark at Obviously, our hope is that individual volunteers would also cross-join with our team for liability and reasons of best practice. Check with Dee about becoming a member.

Now read the full story about Charlie and his rescue.

Pet Friendly Hotels


When we are interviewing disaster clients with pets, the first thing we always want to do is ask them if they have an alternate place to stay. Often in the midst of stress, they forget that their friend down the street likes their dog or Aunt Fanny wouldn't mind taking them in for a short time, especially if they perhaps had a proper crate to keep the animal in just during the stay.


Alternative to this, when friends or family aren't available, are pet friendly hotels. CMDART keeps a list of pet-friendly hotels on our website and we are always looking to update those. Please send us information if you know of any that change or need to be added. Here also are some links to finding pet-friendly lodging. Tip: Motel 6 never charges a pet fee....usually.

For help identifying pet-friendly lodgings, check out these websites: - - - - -


How Emerging Tech Is Changing Disaster Relief

Full Story

The Rock isn't going to save San Francisco after a cargo ship-moving, bridge-splitting, tsunami-causing earthquake … but cutting-edge technology might. Given recent progress by inventors, it looks like it can. I thought it would be interesting to look at some recent examples of emerging technology for disaster relief in action.

7 Promising Technologies Identified
Earlier this year, I attended an event organized by the Red Cross to brainstorm and develop ideas surrounding emerging technology and disaster relief. This San Francisco workshop was one of many that occurred across the world. From the ideas and information shared in these workshops, the Red Cross published a report called A Vision for the Humanitarian Use of Emerging Technology for Emerging Needs. The Red Cross identified seven technologies that could be used in disaster relief:

1. Drones
2. 3D printing
3. Biometrics
4. Smart homes, cars, and appliances
5. Augmented reality
6. Robots
7. Wearable technology

Rescue Robots
After a devastating earthquake strikes, a nuclear power plant is on the verge of an explosion. A robot hero is sent into the rubble to shut off some critical valves — too dangerous a task for humans. No, this isn't the plot line of the next film in the RoboCop franchise, but the scenario behind a competition at the recent DARPA Robotics Challenge. Reporting from the Challenge, the LA Times described an ape-like robot called CHIMP, a wheeled robot named
RoboSimian, and a pink-haired humanoid named THOR-RD. These robots can drive cars, climb steps, detect objects, and more. At the DARPA challenge, a South Korean robot successfully completed all eight of the tasks assigned to the robots, earning its makers a $2 million prize. But, as this video below demonstrates, many of the competing bipedal (two-legged) robots have trouble keeping balance. We've still got a ways to go.

Drones in Nepal
After the destructive earthquake in Nepal, drones provided crucial assistance to aid workers. GlobalMedic, a company that
deploys drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles) for relief efforts, has been tasked to map the affected areas. Two of the drones the company is using, the SkyRanger and Scout models, can identify people trapped or injured by using thermal cameras. GlobalMedic says that the images captured by the drones can help workers deliver relief more effectively.

3D Printing a New Hand
Of all of these technologies, 3D printing has had the longest history of being used for disaster relief. From 3D-printed umbilical clips to water filters, relief workers have found creative — and lifesaving — uses for 3D printers. We've also seen 3D printers utilized to create prosthetics, something that would also be highly useful in a disaster situation.

For example, Welmer Cordova, who was badly burned in a gas explosion in Guatemala, lost part of his right hand. Now, he can open and close his hand thanks to a 3D-printed hand brace. Was it a doctor who printed Welmer's new hand? Nope, it was a librarian, John Walsh, at the Newton Free Library in Massachusetts! While Walsh is experienced in using 3D printers, the hope is that as these devices evolve, almost anybody can print a life-changing or lifesaving item. A Wearable Tech for Relief Challenge Tech Wildcatters, a start-up accelerator in Dallas, announced a challenge called Emerge <> for making wearable technology for police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel. Funded by the Department of Homeland Security, this project is a 12-week program, which started June 8, for six start-ups ending with a demo day hosted by partner Wearable World in San Francisco.

The Department of Homeland Security chose this start-up challenge format for wearable technology because the format might speed up the development and adoption process. We'll keep you updated with what kind of wearables for disaster relief come out of this exciting challenge.

Looking Forward to More Emerging Technologies
There are still a few technology categories on the Red Cross list that are still in concept stage: biometrics, smart homes and cars, and augmented reality. There isn't much out there about these technologies being used or developed for disaster relief, but as the Red Cross continues these workshops and conversations, we will be sure to see more news arise.


Dee and dogs
Pet Owner Prevention Education Training
Making good use of the "calm before the storm"


CMDART is looking for “Preparedness Education Ambassadors” to attend some upcoming trainings to help teach pet owners how to prepare before the next disaster and to help promote our team. CMDART Ambassador Trainings will be held from 5:30-6:30 the second Tuesday of each month by advanced appointment only (with a minimum confirmation of three people) starting in March. Trainings will be held at the American Red Cross Bldg. 2000 Century Drive, Worcester Rm 210. Contact us if you are interested in taking the CMDART Ambassador training. To insure some best practices for our public education effort, we will also have a briefing prior to each event for those who are new or need a refresh on best practices.
Please sign up for upcoming events at

CMDART is also seeking an Events Coordinator and a Clerk for our Board of Directors.
Relevant experience is required. Please contact if you are interested.


If you are a Federal Employee or know a Federal employee, please ask them to consider making a contribution to CMDART,Inc. Our team has once again been approved to receive donations via the Combined Federal Campaign program through the assistance of the Animal Welfare Fund. The CFC is a program that encourages federal employees to make contributions to charities of their choosing. The CDC reference code for CMDART is # 22157. We are listed under Disaster Animal Response Team for the following five zones: Eastern Massachusetts, Greater Hartford, Northern NE (Vermont and New Hampshire), Rhode Island and Southeast Mass, plus Western Mass. We are very grateful to the Animal Welfare Fund for helping us to get approved again. For those of you who have already contributed, we thank you very much for supporting our mission.





Be Prepared with an Emergency Pet Go Kit

Pet Go Kits help pet owners be personally prepared for emergencies by including necessary items needed for a quick departure of the home.

To create your own Emergency Kit, download our checklist of recommended items.

To purchase a Pet Go Kit for $20.00, contact