A request for information about attendance at incidents involving animals
Dear Ms Green,
RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST
I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information you requested on 5th September 2017.
Please find below a summary of our findings.
1a. How many animal rescue calls did you receive in the last 12 months?
1b. What types of animals were they?
2. For how many did the fire service go out to rescue in the last 12 months?
This information is exempt under section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as this information is reasonably accessible to the requestor. Information concerning animal rescues can be found on West Midlands Fire Service website at the following link: https://www.wmfs.net/animal-rescues-2014-17-17026/
3. What is the protocol for saving these animals: how do ensure that you aren’t sending people out and wasting the services time?
West Midlands Fire Service does not normally attend incidents involving animals unless specifically requested by the RSPCA
When working together, there will normally be no charge to the RSPCA.
The RSPCA communications centre has 3 categories of actionable calls; normal, urgent and emergency. Any incident at which an RSPCA Officer requests assistance from WMFS would be classed as an emergency. The definition of an emergency for the RSPCA is “Extreme situations where immediate attendance is required because leaving the animal for any length of time would cause further unnecessary suffering/pain or even death”. All calls to the RSPCA from Fire & Rescue Services are classed as emergencies.
If WMFS feels there are situations where the RSPCA will be charged, there must be agreement with regard to the remunerative rate. WMFS has implemented a sliding scale of charges based on the resources used and will advise the RSPCA prior to making any charges for services to ensure both parties are in agreement.
If the call is from a member of the public, ask if the RSPCA is in attendance, if not advise the caller to contact the RSPCA in the first instance. Telephone number for the RSCPA is 0300 1234 999. The RSPCA will attend all incidents involving animals within 24 hours. The Fire Service will not attend any incident until the RSPCA has attended and made an assessment.
If from the call it is obvious they are unable to pass it on to the RSPCA then Fire Control can do this on their behalf, advising the caller the Fire Service will not be attending.
When the caller has been advised to contact the RSCPA Fire Control will take no further action.
When due to the nature of the call Fire Control determine that they will contact the RSPCA, the caller will be advised “The Fire Service will not be attending this incident but we will notify the RSCPA, are you happy for the Fire Service to give them your contact details”
There is no requirement for Fire Control to recontact the caller to inform them of the actions of the RSPCA
If the call is from the RSPCA and they are not in attendance, inform them they must attend and assess the incident before the Fire Service will consider making an attendance. If due to exceptional circumstances they cannot attend, the Fire Service will only attend if the animal has been distressed for more than 24 hours and cannot be rescued or released by any other means. (Other means could include assistance from other service providers such as tree surgeons, building contractor, local authority etc). If this is not the case then a further call should be made once 24 hours has elapsed. All details should be entered onto the incident log.
If the call is from the RSPCA and they are in attendance and are adamant that the Fire Service need to attend, take the officers name and number and pass these details to the nearest Flexible duty system (FDS) officer. The FDS officer should contact the RSPCA to give advice and guidance, and assess whether the fire service need to attend and if so, what resources should be mobilised.
If the animal is in water, and is drowning or drowning is imminent, mobilise as for a water rescue incident. Ensure the RSPCA is aware and are going to attend. If water is the animal’s natural habitat, i.e. swan, goose, duck, the RSPCA must be informed and must attend, and then action is to be taken as in point 3 above.
In all cases, if the owner is in attendance, they must be informed that a Fire Service attendance is be chargeable up to £450.00 inclusive of VAT per hour per appliance. Also inform the Technical Rescue Advisor (TRA) if a call has been passed to a FDS officer.
The Duty Fire Control Officer has the discretion to make an attendance if it is felt that without immediate intervention from the Fire Service, the animal may die. The Duty TRA should also be informed in these instances.
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications. If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision please write to The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW.
Further information concerning Freedom of Information requests can be found on the Information Commissioner website at either the following link: https://ico.org.uk/ or at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF.