Situate Me, the emergency management crowd sourcing specialist, behind compassionate
Virtual Disaster Assistant, Ema, has launched a new animal welfare add-on that allows pet
owners to register their animals left home alone in an emergency.
Pet owners who are not at home, or who are prevented from returning home, to look after
their animals when disaster strikes, are able to register their unattended pet with Ema. Ema
takes the pet owner through a series of conversational questions to establish the type of
animal, the gender, any medical issues, special needs or dangerous or anti-social
From a cloud-based dashboard, authorities who have installed the platform can gauge the
scale of the operation in advance of heading into a disaster zone. Emergency responders
can view mapped data to assess the extent of the unattended animal issue and plan how
best to prioritise check-ups, rescue and re-location.
Rob Gourdie, Situate Me’s co-founder, says the unattended animal bot (a first for the
emergency management industry) will transform the animal welfare effort in an emergency
situation. He adds that the operational impact of Ema’s help for authorities will be huge.
“For pet owners, ‘Ema for Animals’ fulfils a key emotional need. The extra stress and anxiety
that worrying about a pet adds to an emergency situation cannot be underestimated.
Importantly, being able to register an unattended pet may prevent concerned pet owners
from breaking through cordons and putting themselves in danger in an emotionally charged
attempt to reach their unattended animal.
Mr Gourdie also explains that, currently, in the event of a disaster a pet owner who can’t
reach a neighbour or a friend, will likely ring the emergency services or their local council
direct to report that their animal is on its own.
“It’s then up to the responder to log the call. With Ema, however, the platform is set up for
pet owners to self-report their animal’s situation. The data is collected centrally, visually
presented and accessible in real-time to the emergency crews. This means responders’
phones are freed up and they don’t need to spend time answering calls. Instead, with the
information at their fingertips they can devote that time to the response effort.”
Situate Me launched the Unattended Animal Registration Bot (‘Ema for Animals’) at the 58 th
New Zealand Institute of Animal Management conference held in Wellington, last week. The
organisation is now inviting local councils and emergency management groups to evaluate
the unattended animal situational awareness tool with a view to including it into their
Emergency groups, as well as pet owners, can find out more about the animal welfare
resource – which also includes a register for unattended livestock – at
www.situateme.com/animalwelfare or by emailing or ringing Rob Gourdie at
firstname.lastname@example.org, 021 588 627.