The Service’s innovative new Animal Rescue Vehicle was officially launched at a special ceremony held at Writtle College today, Wednesday April 13.
The vehicle, which is based South Woodham Ferrers, contains specialised equipment to assist crews in the heavy lifting involved in rescuing large animals., built on the chassis of Mercedes Unimog the unit is capable of driving in the toughest off road conditions.
It is fitted with a hiab crane capable of extending up to 13.7 metres and lifting weights up to 3,250kg it is also equipped with three ‘pods’ containing all the equipment crews need to carry out animal rescues.
Between April and November 2010 the ECFRS carried out 150 animal rescues.
All of the crew working on the vehicle have received special training in working with animals, including the best ways to approach animals and how to work with large animals trapped in confined space. The training has not only seen crews learning to work with large animals but also the best way to work with all farm animals.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Gordon Hunter said: “This facility allows us to rescue animals ensuring not only their safety but the safety of our crews as well.
“The service has always carried out a large number of animal rescues and previously we have adapted existing equipment, including converting old hose reels into straps which we would get under the animals and then use brute strength to try and pick them up.
“With this new vehicle we have not only state of the art equipment but also highly specialised crews to deal with any incident in which an animal finds itself in difficulty.”
The Animal Rescue Vehicle is a new asset for ECFRS. It is based on a Mercedes Unimog 5000 chassis which gives good on road and excellent off-road attributes.
The vehicle has a hiab crane fitted to the middle of the vehicle which can extend to a massive 13.7m and lift up to 400kg at that distance. It’s 3,250kg at a closer 2.2m outreach.
It is to be used primarily as an Animal Rescue Vehicle and has three pods stowed on the flatbed rear. These carry all of the animal rescue equipment and much of this equipment can be used for other purposes.
There is a second set of pods which act as a water pumping unit for use in hot conditions when wild fires are much more prevalent than animal rescues.