We Save Lives

BART trains first-responders how to handle pets and livestock during emergencies and disasters, training which could save the lives of both pets and their owners.


Get Trained

BART offers two courses that teach first-responders how to plan for and handle pets or livestock. Have the personnel in your community been trained?


Support Bart

BART is a 503c non-profit that could not offer this training without the support of people like you. With your help, we make life-saving education possible.



The core of our organization is made up of dedicated volunteers from the veterinary profession. Join our team and start making a difference in your community.


Basic Animal Rescue Training (BART) was established in 2004 by veterinarian Dr. Janet Olson in response to the tragic loss of a pet in a house fire in her community. The burning home belonged to a firefighter, and his 13 year old German Shorthaired Pointer named BART was trapped inside. The department was able to put out the fire and locate Bart, but he was unresponsive. The firefighters, including Dr. Olson’s husband, did not have the knowledge or equipment to help Bart; he succumbed to smoke inhalation. The entire fire department was deeply affected by this tragedy and felt helpless to save a family member of one of their own. Dr. Olson developed the BART program in honor and memory of Bart the dog, to prepare first responders for animals they encounter on the scene of emergencies and disasters and ensure fewer families will suffer a similar loss. BART’s focus has evolved beyond helping the individual family pet in a day-to-day emergency (i.e. house fire, motor vehicle accident, ice water rescue) to empowering first responders to address pets and livestock encountered in more large-scale local and state emergencies such as floods and tornadoes. BART is proud to have educated and trained over 5000 first responders in Minnesota, Iowa, and Oklahoma and envisions further national expansion in the years to come.


To empower “First Responders” (fire, police, EMS) with the training, knowledge and equipment necessary to help animals encountered in day-to-day emergencies as well as large scale disasters.


Nationally Approved

On March 3, 2008 the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved the curriculum for the Basic Animal Rescue Training (BART) Small Animal Basic Life Support as a state-sponsored course. DHS approval makes the BART class a national standard course making, BART and the departments it trains, eligible for federal funding. Learn More


National Expansion

BART has received training requests from multiple states and is in the process of expanding its training program. A program has been established in Iowa and we are in the process of becoming established in Oklahoma. To be successful, a state must have the support of the veterinary community as well as the public safety community. Learn More

Meet the dog whose death gave birth to saving lives.

It started as an average day, but ended in tragedy. The New Brighton Fire Department was called to a house fire. The normal anxiety associated with the familiar tone of their fire pager was quickly heightened by the news that followed. The house on fire was owned by a fellow firefighter on the department. The fire trucks roared out of the station with sirens blaring. They quickly arrived on the scene. As the heroic firefighters were battling the flames, they came across Bart, a 13-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer. He had suffered from extensive smoke inhalation and was unresponsive. Continue reading »