Thursday 2 June 2022

Recent statistics relating to firefighters rescuing animals (UK)

Wales Online reports some interesting statistics regarding firefighters rescuing animals. I must presume that this information refers to UK firefighters operating within the UK although it is not stated. They report that in 2020-2021 the fire service was called out to save 5,160 animals which represents a 9% from the previous year. And it is the highest number of animal rescues that the fire service has been involved in since records began in 2012. Interestingly, the stats in the reports don't mention cats in fires! And that leads me nicely to one cat rescued from a wildfire during 40-degree Celsius weather which burned down the cat owners home

Firefighters rescue cats from house fire in UK
Firefighters rescue cats from house fire in UK. Cat rescues from house fires appear to be rare compared to rescuing cats stuck somewhere such as up a tree. Pic in the public domain.

Pets represented 52% of the rescues. Farm animals represented 20% and wild animals 24%. 5% of the callouts were to rescue birds such as parrots, budgies, ducks et cetera.

Releasing trapped animals was the most common callout at 1,965 events. There were 1428 rescues of animal stuck in a high place of which, unsurprisingly, 66% represented companion animals. I presume that this refers to cats on almost every occasion.

On 745 occasions firefighters were called upon to rescue animal stuck in water or mud. And 291 calls were to rescue an animal stuck below ground.

They used 8,791 appliances and 28,486 officers were involved.

The Guardian newspaper reports on the London Fire Brigade's involvement in animal rescue during 2020. There were 755 incidents which is more than two per day. The number of rescues that they were involved in increased by 20% compared with 2019 during which there were 602 rescues. The biggest increase in animal rescue concerned non-domestic animals.

It appears that the Covid lockdowns encouraged some cat owners (perhaps) to allow their cat to roam freely because traffic dwindled to a fraction of its normal intensity which provided relative safety for cats outside. But wild animals were seen more commonly due to the relative quiet and dramatic reduction in human activity. This accounted for more animal rescues than normal.

In fact, cats accounted for 45% of London Fire Brigade animal rescues but the biggest proportional increases were among birds and foxes.

During 2020 the London Fire Brigade spent £206,000 on animal rescue up from £240,000 and 2018 2019. The average cost of each rescue is assessed to be £346. One rescue of a horse stuck in a ditch which required two fire engines cost the fire service £2,700.

Calls concerning distress cats were the most common. In 2021 there were 337 such calls compared to 269 in 2019. They concerned cats stuck up trees, stuck under floorboards, stuck under solar panels and fridges and up telegraph poles and chimneys. One cat was stuck in a recycling bin after their owner failed to notice that they climbed inside a rubbish bag.

The Fire Service in London also rescued 23 dogs, 17 horses and 17 deer and there was a 34% increase in bird emergencies up from 141 and 2019 to 214 in 2020. There was a dramatic increase in rescues during spring when the first Covid lockdown was announced.

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