In an emergency, it’s not just people that need rescuing; our animal friends are often very vulnerable during an incident. They are unable to advocate for themselves and therefore rely on the good people in SPCA’s National Rescue Unit to come and help them when no one else can.

It has been repeatedly demonstrated that owners will go to great lengths to protect, and in emergency situations, rescue their animals. However, without appropriate training and personal protective equipment, these rescue attempts often lead to disastrous consequences for both the owner and the animal.

As such, when things become difficult to manage, SPCA has a team of people based in Wellington that can perform complicated rescues nationwide. We at Fire Rescue First Response have had the honour of giving them some of their training.

Working with such a special group of people is a highlight of our training calendar. All members of the team are characterised by a positive attitude, are team focused and have a can do attitude that makes training them a dream. They have done confined space training so that they can safely enter small spaces such as drains and areas under houses. They have also done advanced medical training (pre-hospital emergency care), as well as Coordinated Incident Management System (CIMS) training to work with their lead agency MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) as part of the national emergency response framework.

During Hurricane Katrina, emergency services were told to forgo rescuing animals, as all resources were used for human rescue and this resulted in some heart-breaking stories. This highlights the importance of SPCA’s work and their team of dedicated people who train for the unexpected, whether it be trapped livestock after an earthquake, or a dog who has fallen off a cliff.

You can read more about SPCA’s National Rescue Unit here.

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