A brand new vehicle has been designed to assist Essex firefighters when they have to rescue animals in need has cost £140,000. Just as human rescue operations rely on good training and equipment, so too do animal rescues, in which apparatus is intrinsic to the way that incidents are tackled.
With Government cuts hitting every public service, there could be a case for abandoning animals and focusing on other duties, but the crews manning the unit say their work is important.
Scott Meekings, watch manager at South Woodham Ferrers, where the vehicle is based, said: “If a horse gets stuck in a ditch, the owners are very loving and protective of their animal. It has been known in the past for the person to try and take charge of the situation.
“This isn’t in the best interest of the animal, but more importantly it could be dangerous for the person involved.”
The animal rescue vehicle is built on a Mercedes chassis and is capable of driving in the toughest off-road conditions.
It is fitted with a crane capable of extending up to 13.7mtres and lifting weights up to 3,250kg.
It is equipped with three pods with all the equipment crews need to carry out animal rescues.
Between April and November 2010, the county’s firefighters carried out 150 animal rescues. Since the unit was launched in April, the South Woodham Ferrers crew have gone on 22 rescues.