Large Animal Rescues 

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service responds to over forty ‘large animal rescue’ incidents a year.  Managers from the Service’s Operational Development and Review Team attended a selection of these incidents as part of their remit to monitor operational activity and identify areas of strength and development.

A review of the Service’s policies, responses, equipment and training took place which further ensures safer working practices for both personnel and animals at incidents.

A Large Animal Project Team was established, from this valuable information was gained by working with a number of Fire and Rescue Services that were able to share ‘best practice’ and ‘notable practice’, these included Hampshire, Kent and East Sussex.
Professional advice, guidance and knowledge have been sought from other organisations, such as the RSPCA, the British Horse Society and the British Equine Veterinary Association.  This professional and expert advice has proved invaluable.


Enhanced specialist training and equipment has been given to crews at three stations, Bridgend, Malpas and Ebbw Vale.  These locations were selected following the study of statistical information and the geographical spread of Large Animal Incidents over a three-year period.  Additionally, these stations are in good locations and are able to provide strategic coverage across the South Wales area.

Personnel at these stations have attended a three-day Animal Awareness/Rescue module.
The first two days of the course are held at Coleg Gwent, Usk campus where the crews receive instruction and gain hands-on experience and familiarisation in the handling of a variety of large animals. Rescuers also gain experience, often for the first time, and enhanced awareness of an animal’s likely behaviour and reaction when subjected to trauma.

The third day is delivered at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service Training and Development Centre. Here crews are trained by the Centre’s instructors on safe and practical rescue techniques utilising the newly acquired rescue and personal protective equipment.

A valuable addition to the training resources has been the purchase of “Lucky”- a full size rubber manikin horse from America.  This manikin is used in the majority of training scenarios
Members of the RSPCA and local veterinary practices have attended training days to observe and gain an understanding of the techniques and safety procedures the Animal Rescue Crews will be implementing during incidents
All other stations have received an Animal Awareness/Rescue Training Pack for continuation training, which includes a training CD. This pack will outline the positive actions they can undertake at the scene while awaiting the attendance of the dedicated Large Animal rescue crews.
Specialist Lifting Unit

A Specialist Lifting Unit has also been added to the operational fleet further adding to technical rescue capability at incidents where mechanical lifting or a high movable anchor point is required. The Unit consists of a Unimog 4x4 vehicle with on-board HIAB crane, and equipment necessary to support vertical lifts and large animal rescue.
The Specialist Lifting Unit is based at TRU, Malpas. It will be mobilised with a crew of two and form part of the PDA for all Large Animal Rescues.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)
The RSPCA are notified of all incidents involving animals by Fire Control

               Contact Details

South Wales Fire & Rescue Service
Forest View Business Park
CF72 8LX

Tel: 01443 232000
Fax: 01443 232180

Page Last Updated on 13/4/2012