31 July 2012 by Martin Cahillane, Marketing Intern

Little do they know it but the animals of London are about to have their feathers well and truly ruffled. The London Fire Brigade (LFB) recently decided to withdraw from animal rescues, which means our furry friends can no longer count on the LFB to get them out of sticky situations.

The Brigade has encouraged the public and pet owners in particular to use the RSPCA as their first port of call when encountering a cat stuck up a tree. However, it is not only cats up trees that the LFB have had to deal with in recent years, some unusual cases incude; a dog stuck in a wheelchair, a kitten with its head stuck in a bongo drum and an Iguana having a whale of a time on a Hackney rooftop!

The decision has been made because the LFB found more and more of their crews attending animal rescues (often ridiculous ones) at the expense of real emergencies. In 2011 there were 620 animal incidents across London requiring attendance from the Brigade. This figure is up 60% on 2006 and is alarming considering a higher percentage of tax payers money would have been attributed to ridiculous animal callouts. If those figures continued to rise over the next few years the LFB would have had to consider a name change to the London Animal Rescue service!

The RSPCA and LFB have launched a campaign called ‘I’m an animal get me out of here!’ which is the tool that is diverting animal related call outs to the RSPCA.  I have my doubts this campaign can remove the age old image of firemen rescuing cats from trees, however, from a Marketing perspective it will be interesting to see if other Local Fire and Rescue Services follow London’s lead and set up similar campaigns with the RSPCA.

The LFB haven’t altogether washed their hands with animal rescues as the RSPCA has said the Fire Brigade will be called if they are unable to deal with the problem in the first instance. The days of LFB rescuing Cats from trees may not be over but just severely numbered. So if your kitten finds its head stuck in a jam jar or your rabbit sits trapped under the sofa, call the RSPCA to get your animal out of there!