Speaker Profile


Chris Riley
New Zealand
Massey University
Injuries and illness risks for responders to animal related technical rescue and disaster deployments: An international survey

For those involved in animal rescue and welfare management during disasters, the environment and animals combined pose an increased physical wellbeing risk paradigm. Nevertheless, peer-reviewed literature evaluating this risk is scant. Some of these risks were evaluated though the delivery of an international survey of volunteer, professional, trained and untrained responders. Of 260/315 (83%) respondents to the question asking if they had been physically compromised in association with a response, 19% (49/260) indicated an impact on their physical well-being. Most (80%) indicated that there were mildly affected by injury or illness, whereas the remainder were moderately or markedly affected. Of the injuries reported, most (52%) were to the hand, followed by the arm (36%), leg (24%), back (24%) and head or face (15%). Of these, 45% reported multiple body regions were affected. Injury types ranged from bruises or lacerations to concussion. The most reported illnesses were associated with infectious disease. The most common factors contributing to injury or illness were the animals being rescued, fatigue and the actions or inactions of others. An existing illness or health concern, failure to wear personal protective equipment, training deficiencies, stress, equipment failure and miscommunication were other factors. These findings provide estimates for the risk of compromised physical well-being and suggest a need for specific training and personnel management for these deployments

Christopher B Riley BSc(Physics), BVSc(Hons), MSc, PhD, Diplomate ACVS, PCIM, MANZCVS, ARTech, Registered Specialist in Equine Surgery.
After degrees in physics and veterinary medicine at the University Melbourne, Chris completed an equine internship, and a surgical residency at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada) concurrent with MSc and PhD degrees in equine tendon healing. Certified as a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons at Iowa State University (USA) in 1998, he then spent 11 years at the Atlantic Veterinary College, Canada (Professor & Service Chief of Large Animal Surgery). After 3 years as the first Professor of Equine Health at the University of Adelaide, he joined Massey University in 2013 as Chair and Professor of Equine Clinical Studies. He has parallel research interests in animal and human health and welfare, and their interdependence. His scientific research is multispecies and multidisciplinary, collaborating on projects in early detection of osteoarthritis, regenerative medicine, improving the transport welfare of horses, improving the safety of students and workers with large animals. Chris is the team manager for the Massey University Veterinary Emergency Response Team.