Essex Fire Service to launch new rescue service at Writtle College

March 2011

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

23 Essex Fire Fighters and Officers have been undergoing bespoke large animal rescue training at Writtle College since 2008. The team are now in a position to launch their new service on 13 April 2011, and this will be held in the Writtle College grounds.

The launch will exhibit the specialist rescue equipment complete with hoist and replica plastic horse – full size and weighs just over half the weight of a live horse. Speaking at the launch will be key representatives from both the Essex Fire and Rescue Service and Writtle College.

Dave Barritt, Station Manager E32 South Woodham Ferrers and E33 Great Baddow said “I am fully convinced as a service we will drastically reduce the number of euthanized animals and greatly reduce trauma and suffering.“

Dr Heidi Janicke, Course Scheme Manager for Equine Science, and Lecturer on the training sessions at the College commented about the new large animal service launch, she said: “I offered specialist expert advice and my own experience to the training sessions I taught. My area of expertise is equine science, including equine vet science, and so I was able to impress the important role of a vet at the scene of a large animal rescue operation.”

The large animal rescue service will also be of considerable benefit to cattle, pig, and sheep farmers who may find their livestock in need of the service. Dr Richard Cooke, livestock specialist and Lecturer in Agriculture, also taught on the training course and he said: “Animals can quite often get into difficult situations, it was only just over a year ago that a herd of pigs had to be rescued from a crash site on the M11. Fire Officers are consistently called upon for their support in such rescue procedures, and now the Essex Fire team can attend with practical experience of handling large animals and know what typical animal behaviour they can expect.”

Writtle College, with its leading equine and animal science reputation within Essex, was selected by the Fire Service to be the official training ground for officers. The Short Course Training department at Writtle College were commissioned by Fire Service officials to create a bespoke training course preparing Officers for a number of large animal rescue scenarios.

The training course at the College included a number of practical and theoretical sessions covering topic areas such as: sedation, animal behaviour, and sensory considerations. To further facilitate the training Writtle College dug a trench and pit in campus grounds.

Currently the Essex Fire Service attends approximately 80 large animal rescues a year and this number is likely to increase once the service capability is launched.

The launch is at 1pm on Wednesday 13 April, light refreshments will be provided. All interested reporters and photographers are welcome to attend. Please register to attend by 5pm on Friday 8 April 2011 - contact Emily Patel: 01245 424276 emily.patel@writtle.ac.uk or Lisa Hart, Consultation & Engagement Officer: 01376 576 037 lisa.hart@essex-fire.gov.uk