MSU Extension Emergency Response to Accidents Involving Livestock Program receives 2021 MCEA John A. Hannah Award for Program Excellence

Michigan State University Extension’s Emergency Response to Accidents Involving Livestock (ERAIL) Program was honored during the annual Fall Extension Conference for creating new partnerships and providing training for first responders.

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension awarded the MCEA John A. Hannah Award for Program Excellence to the MSU Extension Emergency Response to Accidents Involving Livestock (ERAIL) program during the annual Fall Extension Conference Sept. 28.

The John A. Hannah Award recognizes superior Extension programs that are developed and carried out by MSU Extension professional staff members who are appointed by the MSU Board of Trustees. It is considered the most prestigious of the Extension awards as it recognizes the excellence of the program. The MSU Extension ERAIL team members include: Nick Babcock, Madonna Benjamin, Tina Conklin, Elizabeth Ferry, Sarah Fronczak, Kevin Gould, Thomas Guthrie, Michael Metzger, Erica Rogers, Dale Rozeboom, Paola Bacigalupo Sanguesa, Gwyn Shelle, David Thompson Zachary Williams, and Casey Zangaro.

The MSU Extension ERAIL program focuses on supporting a safe and secure food chain, has direct benefits to the agriculture industry, and expands MSU Extension programing and partnerships to a new audience of first responders, emergency managers, and law enforcement officialsResponding to an accident that involves large trucks, people, and animals can turn into a chaotic event if the local response team is not prepared or trained to handle it. The number of livestock in Michigan combined with an expanding processing industry and several large market facilities were key factors leading the ERAIL team to identify the need to prepare those involved to deal with livestock transportation accidents.

The ERAIL program provides in-person training for first responder professionals and others involved in transporting animals; virtual training modules; education through individual consultations for organizations, locations, and units; and establishment of a fleet of emergency response trailers in Michigan.

Team members work to familiarize participants with different types and styles of transport vehicles, to get inside them to see how they work. The team also focuses on training the attendees so that they are comfortable handling and moving animals. Humane euthanasia training is also provided. Three fully funded and operational response trailers are deployed to three counties with plans to find funding to eventually deploy a fleet of 28 response trailers in Michigan.

Past program participants of this training indicate that they are more comfortable and feel better able to work through an emergency situation that involves animals directly because of this experience. More than 140 responders representing 36 Michigan counties and seven other states have completed the program. The ERAIL program showcases MSU Extension at what it does best, providing relevant education and creating awareness using multiple outreach channels, which helps people improve their lives by bringing knowledge and resources directly to individuals, communities, and businesses.

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