MOUNT VERNON – In a small, wooded cabin on the manicured grounds of Camp Laurel, disaster response workers learned how to best capture and control small animals during an emergency.

Karen Chase of Rome, a dog owner herself, was there to get an American Red Cross certification in pet first aid.

“It’s one more thing I can add to help the community,” said Chase, who is affiliated with the Rome emergency management group and fire department and the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization.

She was one of 20 people instructed Sunday by Bobbi Jo Dobbs of the Cumberland County Emergency Response Team and Robert Gross of the Kennebec County Emergency Response Team.

Dobbs urged volunteers to use common sense in dealing with animals and to apply what they learn from handling their own pets. “If you’re trying to catch your cat, a pillow case works well,” she said. She also recounted a story in which one woman was able to trap her panicked cat in a paper bag.

Dobbs cradled a large, swathed stuffed animal under one arm as she spoke.

On Saturday, another class learned how to use old fire hoses as straps to move large animals in a disaster, practicing on two horses and two ponies in the camp’s equestrian arena. The weekend training, which cost an estimated $10,000, was funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Kennebec County EMA director Richard Beausoleil, said each team meets monthly for training.