Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) Animal Rescue Definition: The removal of an animal from a place of danger to a place of safety by the most humane method. With overriding regard for the safety and welfare of ourselves and members of the public.
To support our response to this type of incident SFRS have recently purchased a Rescue Training Mannequin horse which is designed to operate in a ‘real world’ training environment. Fully articulated head, neck, and limbs permit him to be used in a wide variety of rescue situations. The training horse has pulling and lifting points that enable easy placement into challenging scenarios and that also provide for rapid recovery at the end of a training session. The training horse floats upright so can be used in a river, canal or open water training. For a bog or deep mud rescue exercise the mannequin’s legs can also be locked in the standing position.
SFRS currently has two Specialist Animal rescue training instructors, Firefighter Rob Sheppard from White Watch Wellington and also Crew Manager Steve Godfrey from Red Watch Wellington. As a result of attending a large animal rescue training instructor course with Hampshire FRS both have specialist advanced knowledge of animal behavior and handling, rescue techniques, welfare contacts, Veterinary techniques and incident tactical advice. All operational personnel will receive basic safety awareness training when dealing with an animal rescue but SFRS are hoping to use the new Rescue Mannequin to train more personnel in a variety of handling and rescue methods at a more advanced level. All SFRS personnel will be trained in accordance to the standards and the syllabi as approved by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) National Animal Rescue Practioners Forum.
Large animal rescues present a wide range of hazards - from not only the distressed animal itself but possibly also from other animals in the locality, people (well meaning or not) and the environment itself. SFRS believe that their crews having awareness of both animal and human behavior - supported by suitable animal rescue equipment and training will improve safety and the outcomes for all present at the scene of an incident.
The training horse will be kept off station at a training site at Tong Park Farm in Tong where specialist crews can use areas of the working farm as sites for different training scenarios.
In the future SFRS are working closely with Harper Adams Agricultural College on an animal handling course to help fire fighters work safely in situations involving large animals.
Resquip, the company that manufactures the horse are based just over the border near Welshpool, they have already supplied products to many of the Fire and Rescue services here in the UK as well as recent shipments to Finland and France. (@resquip)
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service have decided to ask the Public to think of a name for the Training Horse! Do you have any ideas? (Please note the horse is a Stallion)
The winner will win a prize!