Friday, 22 November 2019

Some Unusual Training for Our Volunteer Fire Brigade


As part of their training package our local volunteer fire brigade engaged with something a bit out of the ordinary last weekend.

The fire station in Preuilly sur Claise.
A rural fire station.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The deputy director of the Natural History Museum in Tours is the advisor on animal risks to our county fire brigade and he came down to Preuilly to deliver some training on 'new companion animals', (known in French as nouveaux animaux de compagnie or NAC) in particular, reptiles. In the theoretical part he outlined some of the situations where fire officers might encounter these animals, and how to behave when they do. The different reptiles were classified as 'harmless', 'venomous' or 'constriction predators'.

Preuilly's fire brigade vehicles, on display at the agricultural show. 
I'm not sure which one of these would be appropriate when rounding up an exotic reptile.
Rural fire brigade vehicles on display at an agricultural show.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The legislation provides a precise framework for authorisations to keep exotic animals. The steps to be implemented by the fire brigade were discussed, the first being to call their specialists at operations headquarters so they can come and ensure the safety of the public, responders and animals.

Young wild blue-tongued lizard Tiliqua scincoides (Fr. scinque à langue bleue) in the Australian garden of friends. Captive breed blue-tongues are amongst the most popular Australian reptiles to keep as pets.
Young wild Eastern Blue-tongued Skink Tiliqua scincoides in a garden in Lismore, Australia.
Photograph courtesy of Christine James.

Practical exercises then taught the volunteer fire officers how to handle the reptiles while waiting for the competent services. So now our local team is equipped with the hooks and cage necessary to resolve an incident with a pet reptile.

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