BERKS CART 2016-10-13T16:41:39+00:00

sart-logo2Berks CART – Because it can happen here. Are you prepared?

Humane Pennsylvania is a longtime leader in ensuring a strong and ready response to emergencies and natural disasters.  Before Katrina drew attention to the peril of pets and people, Humane Pennsylvania partner organization Humane Society of Berks County was the first animal welfare organization to lead a County Animal Response Team (Berks CART) as part of Pennsylvania’s nationally recognized PA State Animal Response Team.

Since 2004, the Humane Pennsylvania has taken the lead in emergency response in disaster in our region and beyond.  Humane Pennsylvania staff and volunteers have set up and managed emergency shelters during ice storms, hurricanes and flood.  They served around the nation as team partners for national organizations.

Local, state and federal government can’t do it on their own and, when it comes to animals, needs the help of experts like Humane Pennsylvania’s staff and volunteers.  In order to be there for them, we need you to be there for us.  For information on how you can support Humane Pennsylvania’s emergency response efforts, contact


Berks CART needs volunteers to assist with animal rescue efforts for small animals, farm animals, and horses, as well as planning and logistics, public relations, veterinary services, and resource coordination. There are individual committees for each of these areas and training available.  Apply to volunteer online.

Resource Donations
While active volunteers are important, the Berks CART also needs space to house animals in emergencies, vehicles to transport animals, portable kennels, veterinary support, heavy equipment, and more. These resources need to be lined up in advance of an emergency to allow for rapid response.

Financial Support
Effective emergency response starts with strong first responder organizations. By supporting the Humane Society of Berks County financially, you help to ensure that we can provide the direction and coordination needed for emergencies of all sizes. Please consider making a gift today in support of the Berks CART, the PetNet emergency foster program, 24 hour injured emergency animal ambulance services, and all the other important services and program provided by the HSBC.  The HSBC would not be able to provide CART support without the leadership provided by PA SART.  Consider supporting PA SART financially, as well.

Contact Damon March at 610-921-2348 or for more information about how you can help.


Berks CART and PA SART have adopted specific training and background check requirements, to ensure the qualifications and safety of our volunteers.

  • All volunteers are required to provide a Pennsylvania State Police criminal background check prior to be allowed to volunteer with Berks CART (details below).
  • All Berks CART volunteers are expected to complete several National Incident Management System (NIMS) courses, available at no cost online.  New volunteers must have these courses completed within six to twelve months of becoming a CART volunteer.
  • All active volunteers are expected to participate in the Berks EMA Total Visibility Program.  Details will be provided directly to volunteers.

Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Background Check
All Berks CART volunteers are required to provide a PSP criminal background check.  There is a $10 charge to the volunteer.  It is a very quick and easy online process (click here to go to the site).  Once the background check is received, forward it to Damon March, HSBC CART Assistant Coordinator.  NO CART volunteer will be allowed to participate without this check.  If you have received a PSP check in the last 12 months for employment of some other reason, that check may be used.

NIMS Training
Because of Berks CART’s official status as an emergency response organization, there are several qualifications all Berks CART volunteers must complete in order to serve the people and animals of Berks County during an emergency.  FEMA, with assistance from State and local agencies developed the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) to ensure that all emergency responders understand the basic framework in which they work, so that a coordinated, effective and efficient response is achieved.  Berks CART volunteers are required to take just a few of these basic courses, but we encourage you to take as many as you’d like – a little education goes a long way.  All the listed courses are available online – we all work for a living, and we know sitting through a four-hour class on hazardous materials isn’t everybody’s idea of an evening well-spent.  You can complete these courses at your leisure, and FEMA even allows you to save your progress at certain points, so that you don’t have to accomplish a course in one sitting.

FEMA Independent Study Program
This will get you started – FEMA’s Virtual Campus is the gateway through which you’ll sign up for courses, save your progress, and receive your certifications.  There’s an “about” link on the left side of the page that will give you some great information on NIMS and ICS courses.

The following courses are required for all Berks CART volunteers:

  • IS-100b: Introduction to the Incident Command System
    Introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training. This course describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
  • IS-5a: An Introduction to Hazardous Materials
    This Independent Study course is intended to provide a general introduction to hazardous materials that can serve as a foundation for more specific studies in the future. The course has five Units which are outlined below. No prior knowledge of the subject is required or assumed.
  • IS-700.a NIMS An Introduction
    This course introduces and overviews the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  NIMS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents.