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Firefighters called to pet rescues every week in Cornwall

Firefighters called to pet rescues every week in Cornwall

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 9:49am 8th March 2020.

Firefighters in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are being called out more than once a week to rescue people's pets.

Crews had to rescue ​more than one of the Duchy's hapless pets from rivers, trees and other sticky situations every week last year.

National Fire Chiefs Council guidance says crews must be equipped to deal with incidents involving animals in peril, to prevent members of the public putting their lives at risk to save their pets.

Home Office figures show the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly fire and rescue services came to the aid of pets 74 times in 2018-19​ – an average of ​1.4 rescues per week.

They made up 61% of the 122 animal assistance callouts crews attended over the year, with the remainder attributed to livestock (24%) and wild animals (16%).

fire engine

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly's firefighters were most commonly needed to rescue pets from height, such as up trees or on roofs, with crews attending 37 incidents during the year.

​The next most common predicament involved ​pets wedged in tight spots or entangled, such as in fences or drain covers, accounting for 19 callouts.

While fire and rescue services encourage people concerned about an animal's welfare to contact the RSPCA first, to avoid calling crews out unnecessarily, the animal rescue charity says the assistance of firefighters is a vital help to their officers.

"We work closely with fire and rescue services across England and Wales and are incredibly grateful to them for support helping us rescue animals from tricky situations, as well as carrying out their own animal rescues.

"Unfortunately there are many times where it simply isn't safe for us to rescue animals, such as from heights or if specialist equipment and expertise are required, so collaborative working is vital in these situations to save animals.

"In these circumstances, we will sometimes request the help of firefighters but it's up to them if they attend, and emergencies involving people will always take priority."

RSPCA spokesperson

fire tape

In 2018-19, firefighters from the Cornwall and the Isle of Wight fire and rescue services attended to:

  • 48 rescues from heights
  • 30 animals trapped or entangled
  • 15 harmed or injured animals
  • Eight heavy animals in need of lifting
  • Five creatures retrieved from below ground
  • Five water or mud rescues
  • 11 uncategorised incidents

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