The fire service is not just about fires. Did you know that Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service attends dozens of animal rescue calls a year?
Being able to carry out animal rescue is extremely important as it prevents members from the public from attempting to carry out the rescue themselves and putting themselves in danger in order to save the animal.
Cannock Community Fire Station has the most specialist animal rescue equipment in the county along with the service’s Unimog, a purpose-designed vehicle for animal rescue and wild fires.
The station boasts a host of technology for the quick and safe extrication of animals, from small creatures like cats and dogs to large cows and horses, which on average weigh up to half a tonne. The service has attended 77 animal rescue so far this year.
The appliance holds two inflatable pathways to allow crews to get to the scene and slide the animal along to get it out of trouble. Commonly, the firefighters see an increase in this type of rescue at this time of year. Due to the weather conditions, farm animals like cows and sheep can get stuck in flood water or pits and need the help of the fire service to rescue them.
Watch Manager Darren Golder said: “Being able to carry out animal rescue is extremely important as it prevents members from the public from attempting to carry out the rescue themselves and putting themselves in danger in order to save the animal.
“For many these animals are parts of the family, like horses, or they are valuable livestock like cows or sheep. Either way they are extremely important to the owners, which is why they are willing to put themselves in harms way to help them.
“Our Unimog is sent out for animal rescues roughly six times a month but it is always more in the winter months. Getting trapped or falling can be very distressing for the animal so we take specific animal-handling courses so we can keep them calm and ensure everyone at the scene is safe.
“We have special boards to hold between us the animals to ensure they don’t bite us and poles the help ensure the horses don’t kick and cause serious injury to the firefighters.”
The crew have jameson poles, dog catchers and suspension equipment to help lift heavy animals.
All firefighters have been trained in animal rescue as first responders but Cannock and Leek are animal rescue specialist trained to an advance level.
The appliance has off-road capabilities to allow the crew top attend an incident in the worst type of terrain. The inflatable and deflateable wheels allow them the reach any site by covering an increasing amount of surface area.