The team includes animal rescue specialists who come from rural backgrounds and have many years’ experience of handling livestock. They attend incidents involving animals to advise the officer in charge on matters of health and safety, animal welfare and rescue techniques.
Team members are trained in animal psychology, how to handle different species and how to react to an animal in distress and train regularly under the guidance of the animal rescue specialists.
Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has a predominantly rural community and is also on the coast. Consequently, firefighters regularly turn their skills to a wide range of different rescues involving pets, livestock, wild and marine animals.
Large animal rescue is recognised as one of the most dangerous activities a firefighter will be engaged in and so specialised training and equipment is essential. The larger species more commonly rescued are horses, cattle, pigs, sheep and deer that find themselves trapped in machinery, bogs, slurry pits, rivers, pools, ditches or victims of cliff falls and road incidents.
The Animal Rescue Team is the lead on the CFOA Animal Rescue Practitioners Forum.
The Animal Rescue Team delivers a range of specialist training courses:
Vet training: fundamental to a large animal rescue but having no previous formal training, vets nationwide can take advantage of a pioneering course in rescue and emergency medicine training, established in partnership with the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and HIWFRS.
Animal Rescue instructor training: a four-day national animal rescue instructors’ course at Lyndhurst in the New Forest. Following the progress of the National Animal Rescue Practitioners Forum this course is designed to equip selected fire officers to a level which will allow significant improvements in techniques and levels of safety at rescues.