FIR (Field Investigations & Response) looks for committed, qualified volunteers to help during various types of deployments.
Volunteers travel to a FIR operation to offer support in a number of different roles during field rescue, crime scene processing, emergency medical care and emergency sheltering.
Is your shelter, rescue group, disaster response team or animal control agency interested in partnering with FIR? Partner agencies provide skilled individuals to work alongside ASPCA experts at FIR operations and also accept rescued animals into their adoption programs. In return, the ASPCA provides transport of placed animals and veterinary and behavior care. Response Partners are also eligible for exclusive grant opportunities, media recognition and more. Learn about the Response Partner Program.
Requirements for Individual Volunteers
Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older and submit a completed FIR Volunteer Application in order to be considered for acceptance. Applicants are required to show proof of completion for:
- These four webinars from the ASPCA FIR webinar series
- FIR 1: Rescuing Animals from Cruelty and Disasters
- FIR 4: Large Scale Operations
- FIR 6: Animal Cruelty Investigations: Crime Scenes and Evidence Collection
- FIR 9: Fundamentals of Emergency Sheltering
- FEMA IS100.b – Introduction to Incident Command System
- IS 700 – National Incident Management System, an introduction
Additional requirements include:
- The ability to travel nationwide with little to no advance notice
- A minimum commitment of travelling 7 consecutive days
- High levels of flexibility and professionalism (treat animals, peers and colleagues with care and respect)
- Willingness to work flexible hours, long days and weekends
- Ability to work independently as well as in a team
- Strong interpersonal communication skills
- Ability to cope with physically and mentally challenging work environment
- Ability to create and maintain a positive and collaborative work environment
- May be required to complete standard background check and a motor vehicle report
"This experience has changed me forever in such a positive, wonderful way. The day flies by; it is the most rewarding work I have ever done … to help these abused animals who have never had a loving human touch or been treated kindly."
Volunteers are encouraged to take courses in CPR and first aid, disaster services, animal handling and shelter operations. You should also consider volunteering in your local community to gain additional experience in animal welfare.
Please note many roles may require:
- Working with and around animals
- Dealing with fractious or diseased animals
sto zoonotic diseases (which can be transferred from animals to people)
- Working in extreme temperatures (hot and cold) for long periods; wearing, working and cleaning in specific personnel protective equipment for long periods of time and/or in extreme temperatures, including but not limited to; Tyvec® suits, gloves and respirators appropriate for the specific function
- The ability to walk medium to long distances, which could be up to several miles including on uneven terrain
- The ability to stand, bend and/or kneel and reach repeatedly for long periods of time
- The ability to lift up to 50 pounds
Are You a Good Fit?
Please consider carefully whether you comfortable, are willing and able to meet the requirements of volunteering with the FIR team. Volunteers who are deployed and are not able to perform the essential functions of their role create challenges for daily operations. Review some of the following role descriptions to see if this work is a good fit for you. Certifications and proof of experience may be required for some roles. If accepted, the FIR team will determine your role on each deployment based on skill set, operational needs and your availability.
Ready to Deploy?
Complete and submit your application. Review the training requirements carefully before applying and be sure to submit all required documents. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Upon receipt of a completed application and accompanying requirements, you will receive confirmation that your information has been successfully submitted and follow up once it has been reviewed. Please allow up to two weeks for your application to be reviewed. At that time you will receive an email informing you whether or not you have been accepted into the program. If you have any questions please email FirTeamInfo@aspca.org.