The Best Friends Podcast Episode 125
Making landfall five years ago today, Hurricane Harvey was one of the most destructive storms in American history, but its strength was not an aberration. It was a sign of things to come as the changing climate is creating more weather-related disasters and making storms, wildfires, and floods more dangerous.
That’s why it’s important to have plans for what to do during an emergency or disaster, both for yourself and your organization.
To learn more about creating effective plans, we spoke with the senior manager of emergency services for Best Friends, Sharon Hawa.
- Registration now open for Strut Your Mutt. If you are with a Network Partner go here to register your team
- Ready.gov: National Preparedness Month
- Best Friends resources: Pet Natural Disaster Checklist and Emergency Plan
- Best Friends resources: Natural Disaster Preparedness for Families with Pets
- Best Friends resources: How You Can Help Shelter Pets in an Emergency or Natural Disaster
- Best Friends resources: How to Help Your Pets in an Emergency or Natural Disaster
- Buy a pet emergency sticker from the Best Friends Store
- American Red Cross: How To Prepare For Emergencies
senior manager of emergency response, Best Friends
As the senior strategist of emergency services, Sharon is responsible for enhancing Best Friends’ capacity and capability to respond to disasters throughout the country. Sharon has extensive knowledge of disaster planning and operations management; coordinating response efforts and training large workforces. Her knowledge and experience in the field of emergency management spans over 20 years.
Sharon started her career as a volunteer with the American Red Cross in New York City following the tragedies of 9/11/2001. She knew immediately that emergency management was the career path for her. She spent the next two decades in various roles at various agencies, planning for and responding to disasters both domestically and internationally, providing care to displaced individuals and often their four-legged family members.
As an avid animal lover and volunteer for several animal rescue groups near her home in Alexandria, Virginia, Sharon recognizes the gaps that exist in emergency planning for household pets and other animals. During the response for Hurricane Gustav in 2008, Sharon managed a mega-shelter in Alexandria, Louisiana, which at peak had more than 3,000 evacuees, as well as, several hundred animals in a co-located pet shelter facility. It was there that she decided that someday in her emergency management career, she would be able to combine her passion for emergency management with her passion for animal welfare.
Sharon and her partner, Max, are an avid outdoors people who enjoy hiking, camping, kayaking and rock scrambling/climbing adventures. They completed their first summit on Half Dome, an 8,839’ peak in California’s Yosemite National Park in September 2018 and have their eyes set on more. Sharon is rescued by her dog, Juno.