Australian Defence industry SME, Global Defence Solutions (GDS), has answered the call to be ready to support those in need during the bushfire season, unveiling an innovation designed to help save the lives of Australian wildlife and pets during natural disasters.
With the 2023 bushfire season starting earlier than expected, and the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting an El Nino weather system bringing severe bushfire conditions, Nowra-based GDS has launched the aptly named DAWS for PAWs.
The state-of-the-art Deployable Animal Welfare System (DAWS) is the result of a design originally intended for deployed military working dogs. GDS, the Australian Defence Force’s trusted partner for deployable field infrastructure, quickly recognised the need to evolve its design so that DAWS could be quickly adapted for other animal welfare needs, such as a triage centre for injured wildlife and family pets during bushfires or floods.
Though primarily dedicated to enhancing accommodation, workspace, medical, catering facilities and personal hygiene amenities for military personnel deployed in the field, GDS is now also devising solutions tailored to support the National Disaster and Emergency Response capability.
“Research after the 2019-2020 Black Summer crisis told us that nearly 3 billion animals were adversely affected. This enormous number spurred us on to draw on our experience building deployable health care facilities for the ADF, through its JP2060 project, to develop this proactive solution,” said Jeromy Bendall, GDS General Manager.
“The sobering research stated 143 million mammals, including our nation’s endangered koalas, and 180 million birds were impacted, not to mention thousands of beloved pets and farm animals. It underscores our decision to produce our DAWS for PAWS. Noting the bushfire season has already started, we felt that it was imperative to accelerate the production of this critical infrastructure.
“My sincerest hope is that through innovations like this, we can offer a safe haven for our nation’s treasured wildlife and pets.”
Bendall said GDS, an Alkath Group company, was always looking for ways to collaborate on major programs and hoped to support Australia’s disaster and emergency response capability moving forward.
“One of the primary attributes of our DAWS is its efficiency and adaptability. We have engineered it to transition from a Type 1C Container into a fully operational shelter within 30 minutes. Each DAWS container can be set up by just two people in minutes, and can be customised to provide shelter, protection and veterinarian care for a range of animals.”
“The rapid deployment feature of DAWS will make it indispensable for vets, allowing them to perform their vital work in remote parts of Australia in times of crisis.”
Beyond its swift setup, DAWS also boasts advanced features prioritising animal welfare, including superior sanitation facilities, a protective PVC sunshield, cutting-edge air conditioning and designated areas for both activity and rest.
“This system is not just a response to past events, but a forward-looking solution with potential applications not only in Australia but in other regions facing similar environmental challenges,” he said.