Skip to main content

Control measure
Specialist resources: Animal incidents

Control measure knowledge

Using specialist resources may be essential for some types of incident or some species of animal. It is also important to consider the need for immediate veterinary surgeon attendance for safety and tactical planning, as well as to determine the viability and welfare of the animal.

In addition to fire and rescue service animal rescue specialists, other specialist resources for incidents involving animals include:

  • Veterinary surgeons
  • Veterinary organisations
  • Animal welfare charities
  • Animal rescue organisations
  • Animal keepers or handlers
  • Environmental specialists
  • Water rescue specialists
  • Search and rescue organisations
  • Local authorities (who may have dedicated animal welfare officers)
  • Police dog handlers
  • Police firearms teams
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)
  • Specialist mud rescue services for coastal areas
  • Government departments responsible for the natural environment
  • Tree surgeons
  • Roofing companies
  • Fencing companies
  • Utility providers

Attendance of specialist resources, especially veterinary surgeons, should not be delayed until the animal is medically compromised. The presence of a veterinary surgeon may be beneficial for carrying out triage and tactical planning, and essential for chemical restraint.

If the animal is captive, for example in a commercial location such as a farm, zoo or laboratory, keepers or handlers may be able to assist. Further information about the presence of captive animals can be found in the National Operational Guidance: Industry.

Although not necessarily a specialist resource, the owner of the animal may be able to assist with the incident, based on their knowledge and ability. Their assistance could include:

  • Explaining the cause of the incident
  • Keeping the animal calm
  • Identifying an appropriate destination for the released or evacuated animal
  • Arranging for their vet to attend the incident

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Maintain a directory of specialist resources for incidents involving animals

  • Maintain or have access to a directory of veterinary surgeons

Fire and rescue services must:
  • Be aware of directories maintained by other organisations, for example a list of veterinary surgeons registered with the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) or with the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association (BARTA)

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Identify the need for specialist resources and request their attendance or assistance

  • Ensure the specialist resources are deployed appropriately and understand their role

  • Consider using the assistance of the owner of the animal