(Decommissioned) Basic Animal Services Disaster Plan – LR 701.2

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University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Policy Name: Basic Animal Services Disaster Plan
Policy Number: LR 701.2
Effective Date: August 7, 2009
Revised Dates: November 3, 2023
Most Recent Review Date: November 3, 2023


The following has been prepared as a guide for handling an emergency in the Basic Animal Services Unit (BASU) that places the health and well being of the animals being housed in the facility at risk.


Emergency/Disaster During Regular Duty Hours

Employees will follow existing procedures for emergency/disaster during regular duty hours. Any and/or all animals will be rescued as possible, without endangering human life or health. Animals are housed in the BASU facility which is located on the fourth floor of Fribourgh Hall. In the event of a disaster, attempts shall be made to evacuate animals to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (DAMS), Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine (DLAM) located approximately 3 miles from the UALR campus, provided the DLAM has room to accept excess animals. Animals that are injured or in distress will be humanely euthanized by methods appropriate for that species, in accordance with the A VMA Euthanasia Panel of 1993. Care will be supervised by the director of the BASU.

BASU Emergency Notification Chain:

In the event of an emergency, either during or after regular duty hours, individuals will be notified in the following order:

Individual Home Telephone
1. Dr. Robert Sikes, Director, BASU 501-330-2435
2. Mr. Darrell Heath, Asst. Animal Technician 501-666-7406
3. Dr. Bill Baltosser, Chairperson, IACUC 501-219-8896
4. Dr. John Bush, Chairperson, Biology Dept. 501-454-0877

Disaster Plan for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Basic Animal Services Unit

General Comments

The BASU Disaster Plan currently covers all matters pertaining to employee actions and animal care in the event of a disaster. The primary concern after a disaster is the preservation of human life. Secondarily, the staff of the BASU will take action to ensure the safety and well being of the animals housed in the animal care facility.

The BASU director will be notified in the event of a disaster that threatens the integrity of the BASU facility. The director or his designate will assess the situation, using support staff (veterinarian) and Facilities Management personnel, as needed. A judgment will be made as to whether the animals can continue to be safely housed with the BASU or if they need to be removed to another facility.

Physical Resources

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Laboratory Animal Medicine is the facility of choice for relocation of laboratory animals, should it become necessary. The decision to remove the animals from the BASU facility and transfer the DLAM will be coordinated among the directors and staff of the two facilities involved.

In the event of a temporary power outage, Facilities Management has a generator that can be brought online to maintain the electrical needs of the BASU.

Extra supplies of feed and bedding sufficient for 30 days are kept on hand in the event that regular supply deliveries are delayed. We currently obtain our supplies from the DLAM, which also maintains a 30 days supply of needed materials.


The BASU staff consists of a director (on 24-hour emergency calls) and an animal care technician.

UALR Facilities Management staff, such as engineering, security, and housekeeping as well as research technicians are the principal investigators that work within the facility from time to time.

Little Rock fire and police departments. The nearest fire station is approximately three-fourths of a mile south of the university.

Response to Specific Disasters

Natural Disasters

  1. Weather Related:
    1. Flood. The BASU is located on the fourth floor of Fribourgh Hall. Thus, no immediate problem from flood water is anticipated. Interruption of electric power and delays in providing supplies to the animals have been addressed previously.
    2. Wind (including tornado, severe thunderstorms, etc.). Little Rock, Arkansas is located within a high risk area for severe thunderstorms with accompanying high winds. The most frequent occurrence is temporary loss of electrical power. Fribourgh Hall is a five story poured concrete facility. Therefore, physical damage from wind is a remote possibility. In the event damage should occur an assessment will be made at that time of whether or not to remove the animals to another facility.
    3. Ice, Snow, Hail. Winter ice storms occur infrequently in the Little Rock area. Loss of electrical power is the most likely occurrence subsequent to the storm. This loss if electrical power is usually only very temporary but in the event power needs to be restored immediately the university has a supplemental generator that can be brought on line. In my 30 year history at UALR we have only lost power a couple of times and only for a duration of 1-3 hours.
  2. Earthquake:
    1. Arkansas is considered a moderate area for a major earthquake. Little Rock is located on the fringe of the New Madrid fault line. Minor earthquakes have occurred in the past but have had no effect on the BASU. Should a major quake occur, it is probable that a loss of electrical power and natural gas to Fribourgh Hall would occur. In the event we were unable to maintain our environmental requirements we would make an attempt to transfer the animals to DLAM in the event we were able to do so. If both facilities suffered severe damage we would make every attempt possible to maintain the animals in as ideal an environment as possible. We would also assume at this time that a certain number of the animals would have suffered trauma. The animals’ needs would be met as near as possible and for those animals suffering severe trauma it may become necessary to euthanize selected ones.

Man-Made Disasters

  1. Sabotage:
    1. An electronic key access security system is utilized in Fribourgh Hall during the times that classes do not meet (evenings and weekends). Access into the facility is recorded at the UALR security office noting the time and person accessing the facility. In the event of an attempted break-in during off-duty hours it should be observed by the UALR security staff.
    2. The outer door of the BASU facility is kept locked at all times. Access to the BASU is restricted by limited key issue. Keys are provided to the BASU staff, the chairperson of the biology department as well as Dr. Robert Sikes, the principal investigator using the facility. The only other persons that should have a key to the facility is a member of the UALR security force and Facilities Management. In the event of a break-in, the UALR security staff will be notified in order for them to take immediate action. The director of the facility will be notified by the security staff in order for the director to assess the damage to the BASU and the animals housed within.
  2. Fire:
    1. In the event of a fire in the BASU, all personnel will evacuate the facility. No attempt will be made to rescue animals which would put human lives at risk. Once the fire has been put out, only then will BASU personnel return to the facility to assess the damage. The BASU director and staff will evaluate the condition of the facilities to determine if the situation will allow adequate housing of the animals or should they be transferred to another facility. All animals will be checked to ascertain their general health conditions. Injured animals may be euthanized.

Facilities Management Breakdown

In the event of a failure in the buildings physical systems (heating/air, plumbing), an alarm will sound. In addition, a blue alarm light located outside the building will become energized. During regular duty hours the alarm will be noted but during off-duty hours the blue light is expected to be observed by the campus security. When the alarm is noted, the BASU personnel will be notified. The official notification chain, as noted previously, will be initiated at the director level and move down the supervisory chain. The official on duty will determine the potential effects of the situation to the health and well being of the animals. The Facilities Management personnel will be consulted to take the steps necessary to correct the problem. If the situation cannot be taken care of in an expeditious manner, a decision will be made whether or not to transfer the animals to DLAM.

Unforeseen Circumstances

As one might expect, a disaster occurs that effects the facility most likely will effect large numbers of persons in the Little Rock area as well. Almost without exception, the animals housed within the facility are provided with sufficient diet and water in the cages to last several days. During my 30 years at UALR I have never seen a situation in which I could not reach the campus within 48 hours and this was simply a situation in which it was not necessary for me to be on campus and so I did not make the effort to get here. We simply do not have that detrimental a weather pattern in Little Rock to preclude someone of our staff from reaching the campus when it is absolutely necessary.

Evacuation Routes From the BASU

  1. The closest and most convenient route of exit from the BASU is stairwell #1 located immediately west of the BASU. We will use the stairwell immediately adjacent to the BASU for removal of personnel and animals. In the event stairwell #1 is blocked we would immediately move to utilize stairwell #2 located east of the BASU.
  2. The stairwell of second choice is located approximately 40 steps east of the BASU. We could utilize this area for clearing personnel and animals from the facility.
  3. In the event the two previous routes are blocked, we would utilize the stairwell #3 located on the north side of Fribourgh Hall. Anyone and/or all of these facilities would be utilized if it became necessary to transfer personnel and/or animals from the BASU.
  4. Although it is not recommended to utilize elevators during hazardous periods such as storms, blackouts, and earthquakes, the elevators located within the building could be utilized under special circumstances in which it would not be hazardous to the well being of the BASU personnel or the animals housed within the facility.

Source: Environmental Health and Safety
Status: Decommissioned
Approved By: Environmental Health and Safety Committee, August 7, 2009
Custodian: EHS Committee