Small Companion Animal Incident Management Project

Menu: Click across the green arrows to view active and completed project stages. Consultation takes place at every stage of the project.

Case for change

The 2019-2020 bushfires highlighted the important role of animal facility workers, emergency service workers and evacuation centres in supporting injured and displaced animals. With many evacuation centres overwhelmed, the need for revised evacuation protocols, procedures for accommodating companion animals and staff training were recommended by several reports, including the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements. The Royal Commission recommended ‘national consistency in training and competency standards’ to encourage resource and information sharing, and to enable ‘someone trained in one state or territory to work effectively in another’.

This project aims to provide a national approach to the skills standards for responding to incidents involving small companion animals.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the 2021 Annual Update to the IRC Skills Forecast (see pages 52-57).

The Animal Care and Management Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will oversee this project as part of their responsibility to support engagement with the sector, and to ensure the project meets industry stakeholder needs.

Skills Impact will manage this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal (see pages 52-57)

 

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Project Plan

The benefits of owning a pet are well understood by people in Australia, with an estimated 30.4 million pets across the country. The love, care and protective instinct people have for their pets was highlighted during the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires, with many not wanting to leave their animals and even putting themselves at risk in efforts to save them. In Australia, the majority of pets are dogs, cats and other small mammals. Pets and their owners become at risk when fires, floods and natural events cause catastrophic damage. A large number of them are also located in rural and regional Australia where bushfires are more likely to occur. The bushfire events of 2019-20 underlined the need for national skills standards to be developed to support the important role of animal facility, emergency service, animal welfare and evacuation centre workers involved in the coordination and care of small companion animals during disasters caused by natural events.

The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements recommended ‘national consistency in training and competency standards’ to encourage resource and information sharing, and to enable ‘someone trained in one state or territory to work effectively in another’. This project aims to provide a national approach to the skills standards for responding to incidents involving small companion animals, which could also be used by local boarding kennels, shelters, and evacuation centres to upskill staff.

Industry experts will be consulted to look at the skills requirements to coordinate every part of an incident involving small companion animals. Focus will be placed on the job functions that can be undertaken by emergency workers, kennel workers, animal welfare workers and vet nurses. The skills to support the safety needs of both animals and humans will be a priority, including the skills to deal with distressed owners and pets, how to house different animals together, as well as the skills to care for injured animals.

“The average pet-loving household has four or more people, is located in a rural or regional area,” Animal Medicines Australia.

Project Scope

Units of competency and skill sets will be developed to address the skills required for animal facility workers and emergency services to plan, respond and care for small companion animals during emergency situations. The units will be included as electives in existing qualifications.

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Relevant Occupations
  • Animal facility worker
  • Emergency service worker
  • Evacuation centre worker
  • Animal welfare worker
  • Local laws animal management officer
  • Veterinary nurse
Timeline

July-August 2021
Initial scoping

September-October 2021
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

November 2021
Drafts available for broad consultation

February 2022
Validation of final drafts

March 2022
Finalisation of Training Package components

April 2022
Independent Quality Assurance, and Edit and Equity review of Training Package components

April 2022
IRC consideration for sign-off and submission for endorsement

Project Team
Danni McDonaldIndustry Skills Standards Portfolio Manager [email protected]
Diana McNaughtonIndustry Engagement Manager [email protected]
Anna HendersonIndustry Skills Standard Contractor
Opportunities for stakeholder input

Stakeholder input is appreciated throughout the duration of this project. The documents will be drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft materials are made available in November 2021, and again for validation of final drafts in February 2022. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the units.

It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future. The units need to reflect real work experience. So, if you have experience working in the field of emergencies involving small companion animals, Skills Impact appreciates your input and assistance.

Please register your interest in project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link. Alternatively, contact the project team on [email protected] or 03 9321 3526.

N.B. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Webinars will be held to replace the face-to-face consultation workshops Skills Impact would usually host around Australia.

Stakeholder Consultation Process

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified for this project based on their industry role, size or specialty. Skills Impact will ensure contact is made with each of these organisations to seek their involvement and views on all draft skill sets and units. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list, they have simply been identified as the most, likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project

If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team to ensure they are contacted by us.

Development

Small companion animals live across millions of Australian homes. When major incidents such as bushfires, floods and fires occur, a coordinated effort of response workers is required. Animal facility, emergency service, animal welfare and evacuation centre workers, all play an important role in protecting people and these animals during major incidents. Unique skills are required to work with these small animals and the people they live with, who are under stress. During the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires, many people did not want to leave their small companion animals and even put themselves at risk in efforts to save them. Following these events, the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements recommended ‘national consistency in training and competency standards’ to encourage resource and information sharing, and to enable ‘someone trained in one state or territory to work effectively in another’.

Industry subject matter experts are being consulted to develop national skills standards to support the coordination and care of small companion animals during major incidents. This will support the work of animal facility, emergency service, animal welfare, veterinarians and evacuation centre workers, who play an important role protecting people and pets during fires, floods and other events.

Work is underway to develop units of competency to support the unique skills requirements of responding to a major incident involving small companion animals.  Subject matter experts have met to discuss the job roles and functions required for this work. They have looked at existing animal incident management units of competency to see where these may be able to be utilised, in order to avoid duplication in the training system. Some key skills requirements were discussed in relation to:

  • using the correct and consistent terminologies across organisations
  • ensuring animal welfare needs were prioritised
  • understanding which job roles were responsible for specific tasks during an incident
  • working as a team during an incident across several organisations
  • being aware and understanding of the different state, territory, and local laws, and regulations
  • understanding the risks in working with stressed and injured animals.

Development outcomes and next steps

Seven units and four skill sets are being developed. One existing unit may also be updated to accommodate the skills required for small animal incident management. The units and skill sets will address specific skills and knowledge required for the dealing with stressed animals during incidents. The draft units and skill sets will be made available on this webpage for broad stakeholder consultation and feedback mid-November, under the ‘Drafts Available’ menu above. Your input is welcome, please feel free to register your interest to keep informed of project updates and when draft materials are available for feedback.

 

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Drafts Available

Australia is home to millions of small companion animals. Unique skills are required to manage the safety of these small animals and the people they live with in the case of major incidents such as bushfires, floods and fires. Following the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires, the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements recommended ‘national consistency in training and competency standards’ to encourage resource and information sharing, and to enable ‘someone trained in one state or territory to work effectively in another’. As a result, national skills standards are being developed to support the unique skills requirements of responding to a major incident involving small companion animals.

Thank you to those who provided feedback on draft units of competency and skill sets for rescuing small companion animals during major incidents. 

The drafts were made available on this webpage for feedback from 26 November 2021 until 5 January 2022. During this time, feedback was collected via the online feedback hub, consultation webinars and email. The drafts, including any comments made on the feedback hub, are still available for viewing below.

Feedback was sought on whether the draft units and skill sets reflect the current skills standards and practices of industry, and whether job functions are accurately described. Specific questions relevant to particular units and skill sets were been included as comments on the drafts.

Feedback was especially sought about:

  • correct use of terminology, including references to animal ‘movement’ or ‘relocation’ or ‘evacuation’ or ‘rescue’
  • defining the types of incidents covered by the units of competency and how to describe them appropriately
  • clarification on who will be carrying out the job functions described the units and skills sets
  • the types and frequency of Performance Evidence that would be reasonable and effective for assessment.

A User Guide is also being developed to provide advice on delivery training based on the contents of these units and skill sets. Suggestions were encouraged about suitable information to include in the guide, including information that may not be able to be captured within the units and skill sets.

Your feedback will inform further work on the final drafts, which are expected to be available for industry comment and validation in February 2022.  A summary of the feedback and how it was addressed in the final drafts will also be available.

Unit code and nameRationale or changesLink
ACMAIM2X1 Participate in small companion animal rescue during a major incidentNew unitView draft unit
ACMAIM3X1 Communicate with small companion animal owners about incident management processes and the welfare of their animalsNew unitView draft unit
ACMAIM3X2 Perform small companion animal rescue during a major incidentNew unitView draft unit
ACMAIM4X1 Determine database information requirements for small companion animal evacuation processes and facilitiesNew unitView draft unit
ACMAIM4X2 Conduct a small companion animal incident awareness campaignNew unitView draft unit
ACMAIM5X1 Plan for the rescue of small companion animals during major incidentsNew unitView draft unit
ACMAIM5X2 Prepare plans to set up a small companion animal evacuation facilityNew unitView draft unit
ACMAIM305X Carry out casualty and post-rescue management of animalsRevised unit. Removed references to “large” animals to broaden coverage of the unit so that it can be used for all sized animals.View draft unit

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by  clicking here.

These skill sets were developed to capture the skills required for different roles performed in small companion animals incident management. The draft units linked above are incorporated into these skill sets.

Skill Set code and nameLink
ACMSS000X1 Small Companion Animal Incident Management Planner Skill SetView draft skill set
ACMSS000X2 Community Small Companion Animal Incident Management Awareness Campaign Officer Skill SetView draft skill set
 ACMSS000X3 Small Companion Animal Incident Management Team Leader Skill SetView draft skill set
ACMSS000X4 Small Companion Animal Incident Management Worker Skill SetView draft skill set

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

The units developed as part of this project are proposed for inclusion within selected animal care and management qualifications. A table displaying the proposed inclusion of the units within qualifications was uploaded to the feedback hub along with the other documents to collect your feedback. You can view the table and any comments made below.

The proposed placement can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

Summary of Consultation

A group of subject matter experts (SMEs) participated in a workplace functional analysis to identify key job functions. Draft units and skill sets were then developed and distributed to those with expertise in managing small companion animals in an incident such as a natural disaster. Feedback was collected from this group and incorporated into the drafts that are available from 25 November 2021 to 5 January .

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Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates. Make sure to select ‘Animal Care and Management’ as your industry of interest on the subscription form.

Validation

Millions of small companion animals can be found in homes across Australia. When major incidents such as bushfires, flood and other natural events occur, unique expertise is required to manage the safety of these animals and the people they live with. ‘National consistency in training and competency standards’ in this area was recommended out of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements following the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires, so that ‘someone trained in one state or territory to work effectively in another’ and to encourage resource and information sharing. As a result, national skills standards are being developed to support the unique skills requirements of responding to a major incident involving small companion animals.

Thank you to those who provided validation and comment on the final draft units of competency, skill sets and qualifications for small companion animal incident management that were made available on this page from 4 February until 20 February 2022. A new release of the Companion Volume: Animal Incident Management User Guide to accompany the new units of competency was also made available. 

Thanks to input from multiple stakeholders during the ‘Drafts Available’ stage, adjustments were made to the draft skill sets and units so that they describe the specialist skills required by those involved in the rescue of companion animals. Terminology was clarified and industry specific references included, with further definitions provided in the User Guide. References to ‘small’ companion animals and ‘major incidents were removed so that the units are applicable to a broader range of situations which are not yet addressed in the national training system. Titles were updated to more accurately describe the unit outcomes and reflect language changes. Knowledge evidence was updated to remove unnecessary content. Qualifications that will be updated to include these new units of competency were also identified and were made available for validation and comment.

The draft documents and any comment made are still available to view below.

The final drafts will shortly progress through to the Finalisation stage of the project which includes quality assurance of the documents and review and feedback from the State/Territory Training Authorities. They will then be forwarded to the Industry Reference Committee for consideration and sign off, before being submitted to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) and State and Territory Ministers to consider and approve for publication on training.gov.au.

Summary of Feedback and Key Changes

Thank you to those stakeholders who provided feedback on the drafts that were made available from 26 November 2021 until 5 January 2022 under the ‘Drafts Available’ stage. During this time, feedback was collected via the online feedback hub and webinars, and via phone calls and emails. The units were drafted with guidance from Subject Matter Experts, made up of workplace experts and industry.

Key changes include:

  • clarification of terminology (with further definitions provided in the User Guide)
  • removal of references to ‘small’ companion animals, to better reflect the range of companion animals that may be rescued
  • removal of references to ‘major incidents’ to cover the broad range of incidents where companion animals may need to be rescued and cater to incidents not yet addressed in any other units of competency
  • updating of unit titles to more accurately describe the unit outcomes and reflect language changes
  • a reduction in unnecessary content in Knowledge Evidence
  • inclusion of industry specific references to systems such as incident severity levels (SEV) and Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System (AIIMS).

A description of how feedback has been considered and applied in these final drafts will be available soon.

During the ‘Drafts Available’ stage discussions were held to determine suitable qualifications to host the new units of competency. These qualifications will be updated to receive a code change as a result of the inclusion of a new specialisation, and new units being added to the elective bank. Units have been placed as shown in the table below.

Qualification code and nameProposed changesLink
ACM30122 Certificate III in Animal Care ServicesCode changed, but qualification outcomes deemed Equivalent.

New Companion Animal Incident Management units added to elective bank:

  • ACMAIM2X1 Participate in companion animal rescue
  • ACMAIM305X Carry out casualty and post-rescue management of animals
  • ACMAIM3X1 Communicate with companion animal owners about incident management processes
  • ACMAIM3X2 Perform companion animal rescue
View final draft qualification
ACM40122 Certificate IV in Animal Regulation and ManagementCode changed, but qualification outcomes deemed Equivalent.

New Companion Animal Incident Management units added to elective bank:

  • ACMAIM4X1 Determine database information requirements for companion animal evacuation processes and facilities
  • ACMAIM4X2 Conduct a companion animal incident awareness campaign
  • ACMAIM5X1 Plan for the rescue of companion animals during major incidents
  • ACMAIM5X2 Prepare plans to set up a companion animal evacuation facility
View final draft qualification
ACM40222 Certificate IV in Animal Facility Management
  • ACMAIM5X1 Plan for the rescue of companion animals during major incidents
  • ACMAIM5X2 Prepare plans to set up a companion animal evacuation facility
View final draft qualification

In general, feedback received on the draft units of competency during the ‘Drafts Available’ stage was very positive. As such, most changes made were relatively minor in nature, however they do include updates to use agreed upon terminology and industry systems, and titles of all new units were updated to reflect these changes. Superfluous content was removed from the Knowledge Evidence (some of which was moved to a Companion Volume User Guide if relevant), and Performance Evidence content clarified.

It should be noted that some feedback originally suggested some units proposed for creation were not required, however feedback from other stakeholders indicated otherwise, and expressed the importance of those specific units for use in rural and remote areas, where facilities may not be easily/readily available.

Unit code and nameLink
ACMAIM2X1 Participate in companion animal rescueView final draft unit
ACMAIM3X1 Communicate with companion animal owners about incident management processesView final draft unit
ACMAIM3X2 Perform companion animal rescueView final draft unit
ACMAIM4X1 Determine database information requirements for companion animal evacuation processes and facilitiesView final draft unit
ACMAIM4X2 Conduct a companion animal incident awareness campaignView final draft unit
ACMAIM5X1 Develop a plan for the rescue of companion animals during major incidentView final draft unit
ACMAIM5X2 Prepare plans to set up a companion animal evacuation facilityView final draft unit
ACMAIM305X Carry out casualty and post-rescue management of animals
(minor updated to existing unit to remove references to ‘large’ animals)
View final draft unit

These skill sets were developed to capture the skills required for different roles performed in small companion animals incident management. The draft units linked above are incorporated into these skill sets.

Skill Set code and name Link
ACMSS000X1 Companion Animal Incident Management Planner Skill SetTitle updated (Previously: Small Companion Animal Incident Management Planner Skill Set)

Unit removed

View final draft skill set
ACMSS000X2 Community Companion Animal Incident Management Awareness Campaign Officer Skill SetTitle updated (Previously: Community Small Companion Animal Incident Management Awareness Campaign Officer Skill Set).View final draft skill set
ACMSS000X3 Companion Animal Incident Management Team Leader Skill SetTitle updated (Previously: Small Companion Animal Incident Management Team Leader Skill Set).

Removal of multiple units as original skill set had too many.

Update in Pathways Information to clarify that completion of the skill set alone does not qualify learners to be a team leader in general emergencies.

View final draft skill set
ACMSS000X4 Companion Animal Incident Management Worker Skill SetTitle updated (Previously: Small Companion Animal Incident Management Worker Skill Set)View final draft skill set

The Companion Volume: Animal Incident Management User Guide was updated to include information relevant to the rescue of companion animals (this guide was previously focussed on large animal rescue only). It was populated with content recommended for inclusion by the subject matter expert working group to provide detailed information and examples for trainers and assessors. Stakeholders were encouraged to review the updated version of the User Guide to ensure added content was accurate.

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Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates. Make sure to select ‘Animal Care and Management’ as your industry of interest on the subscription form.

Finalisation

Millions of companion animals can be found in homes around Australia. When incidents occur that put these animals in danger, a coordinated effort is required. Animal facility, emergency service, animal welfare and evacuation centre workers all play important roles during such events, working to manage the safety of companion animals and the people they live with. Following the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires, the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements recommended ‘national consistency in training and competency standards’ to help support people to work effectively across state lines. Skills are needed to evacuate and accommodate animals and to work with pet owners who may be distressed. A large number of companion animals are located in rural and regional Australia where incidents such as fires, floods and natural events are more likely to occur and specific skills are required for working in this context.

As a result of consultation throughout this project, national skills standards have been developed to support the unique skills requirements of responding to an incident involving companion animals.

Seven units have been developed and one reviewed to describe the skills involved in all stages of companion animal rescue, including preparing and planning for rescue, executing rescue plans and providing care for animals post-rescue. The developed units are proposed for inclusion in three animal care qualifications, which will be updated to receive a code change as a result.

Four skill sets were developed to capture the skills required for different roles performed in small companion animals incident management, addressing skills required for team leaders and workers, as well as those working in planning and awareness roles. The developed and updated units are incorporated into these skill sets.

The Companion Volume: Animal Incident Management User Guide was also updated to include information relevant to the rescue of companion animals, as it was previously focussed on large animal rescue only.

Key Changes
  • Seven units of competency were developed to describe the skills involved in rescuing companion animals, including planning, raising awareness, communicating to owners, participating in and performing rescue, setting up a rescue facility, and determining database information requirements.
  • One unit, ACMAIM313 Carry out casualty and post-rescue management of animals, was revised to broaden its coverage so that it can be used for animals of all sizes.
  • Four skill sets were developed to address the skills required for management and planning in the case of an incident involving companion animals and campaign planning to raise awareness about companion animal rescue, as well as for participating in companion animal incident management as a worker or leader.
  • The revised and developed units are packaged in the existing qualifications ACM30122 Certificate III in Animal Care Services, ACM40122 Certificate IV in Animal Regulation and Management and ACM40222 Certificate IV in Animal Facility Management.
  • The Companion Volume: Animal Incident Management User Guide was updated to provide additional information to assist RTOs with delivery, including:
    • risk management in training and assessment activities
    • additional requirements for trainers and assessors
    • industry terminology and recommended resources
    • legislative and regulatory requirements
    • advice on selecting appropriate general electives for each skill set.
Summary of Consultation

A Subject Matter Expert working group was established to identify the skills and knowledge required for managing companion animals during an incident. The broader industry was consulted on the draft documents at two different stages – the ‘Drafts Available’ and ‘Validation’ stages. Industry from across Australia provided input via the Skills Impact feedback hub, webinars, email, and phone.

Summaries of how feedback has been considered and applied at each of these two stages is available to download below.

 

The final draft units, skill sets and qualifications have undergone an edit and equity and independent quality assurance process, including review by the Animal Care and Management Industry Reference Committee and State/Territory Training Authorities (STAs/TTAs). They were endorsed by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) on 1 June 2022 (read the communique), and are now being considered by the State and Territory Skills Ministers. A Case for Endorsement has been developed to provide information about what changes have been made, who has contributed, reasons for the changes, and their implications. A Companion Volume Implementation Guide has also been produced to help registered training organisations (RTOs) implement the updated units, skill sets and qualifications.

The submitted documents are available for download below. 

Click here to download the Case for Endorsement

Click here to download the Companion Volume Implementation guide Part 1

Click here to download the Companion Volume Implementation guide Part 2

Click here to download the submitted documents in Microsoft Word format

Unit code and name
ACMAIM204 Participate in companion animal rescue
ACMAIM311 Communicate with companion animal owners about incident management processes
ACMAIM312 Perform companion animal rescue
ACMAIM313 Carry out casualty and post-rescue management of animals
ACMAIM405 Determine database information requirements for companion animal evacuation processes and facilities
ACMAIM406 Conduct a companion animal incident awareness campaign
ACMAIM501 Develop a plan for the rescue of companion animals during major incidents
ACMAIM502 Prepare plans to set up a companion animal evacuation facility

Click here to download the submitted documents in Microsoft Word format

Skill Set code and name
ACMSS00042 Companion Animal Incident Management Planner Skill Set
ACMSS00043 Community Companion Animal Incident Management Awareness Campaign Officer Skill Set
ACMSS00044 Companion Animal Incident Management Team Leader Skill Set
ACMSS00045 Companion Animal Incident Management Worker Skill Set

The following qualifications were updated to incorporate the units which were revised and developed as part of this project.

Click here to download the submitted documents in Microsoft Word format

Qualification code and name
ACM30122 Certificate III in Animal Care Services
ACM40122 Certificate IV in Animal Regulation and Management
ACM40222 Certificate IV in Animal Facility Management

Subscribe to updates about the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates. Make sure to select ‘Animal Care and Management’ as your industry of interest on the subscription form.