Firefighters take part in animal rescue training

Moving sheepFirefighters from Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) have been taking part in specialist training to ensure they can deal with emergencies involving a range of animals.

Working at HorseWorld, with staff from the Whitchurch-based charity and staff from Norton Radstock College, crews have been learning techniques to help them in the event of an incident involving large animals, such as a horse or cow trapped in a ditch, or a fire at a farm where animals need to be moved.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service Station Manager Gary Weeks said: “The training has proved very effective for our crews as it has given them the confidence to deal with incidents involving large and unusual animals which are trapped or in a dangerous situation.

Moving turkeys“We are often called upon to assist animals in a range of situations and we now have specialist animal rescue equipment and techniques that we use to ensure the animals involved are dealt with appropriately. To work alongside experts from Norton Radstock College and HorseWorld has really helped develop these skills and will prove vital at future incidents.”

In 2010/11 AF&RS was called to 23 incidents involving large animals in need of rescue or assistance – nearly two a month.

The two-day training programme involved working with horses, sheep, turkeys and pigs, with techniques for moving, lifting and herding the animals all demonstrated.