Partnership Spotlight: Animal Fire Rescue

Partnership Spotlight: Animal Fire Rescue

San Diego has more than 340,000 horses and other large animals, and the majority of the 3.3 million people that live in San Diego have small animals like dogs, cats, or other pets. These animals are treated like family members by the people that love and take care of them.

Who is going to rescue these animals when the need arises? The answer to that is a complicated mix of different agencies all needing to work together. To effectively work together, however, they must train together.

As a utility company, we need to be prepared ourselves and also help our customers prepare for emergencies that impact their service and safety. This is why our company works closely with Animal Fire Rescue in the areas of education, emergency preparedness and overall fire safety to benefit all members of your family.

When disaster strikes, it does not discriminate, and our furry friends are at risk as well. 

Helping When You Need it Most

Animal Fire Rescue's mission is to provide animal rescue training to any agency that would benefit from learning how to better save animals using Fire Rescue Standards and to provide that training in conjunction with other agencies because joint training leads to smooth interagency calls. And they provide two types of training -- technical rescue and wildland fire evacuation.

Technical rescue involves an animal that is stuck and unable to free itself. This is usually a single incident involving one animal and can require several agencies to work together. Examples of technical rescue include rope rescue, water rescue and trench rescue. This training is exceedingly difficult to learn and easily forgotten, so technical rescue teams are constantly refreshing their technical rescue skills.

Wildland fire evacuation is the removal of animals both large and small that are in the path of a wildland fire. This requires several specialized parts of a larger team and many of those members are required to have yearly wildland fire safety training.

The public training and education that Animal Fire Rescue provides is a mix of classroom, hands-on exercises, and fieldwork with life-size mannequins of horses and dogs. Most of the training occurs at the five-acre Animal Fire Rescue training facility in Alpine. This facility has a full classroom and a variety of canyons, rock faces and a small lake for water rescue training. Animal Fire Rescue follows standards set by organizations like NFPA, NWCG and State Fire Training so that all training is consistent between agencies that train together.

They also provide training to fire agencies other First Responders that are involved with animal rescue. This is all done free of charge to these first responding agencies due to the charitable donations of organizations in the community.

Yearly Wildland Fire Training

During a wildland fire, "road closers" are put in place to protect the public. Additionally, the California Office of Emergency Services uses the National Standard of only letting professionally trained personnel through roadblocks. In these situations, Animal Fire Rescue provides the required Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR), also called Rt-130 Training, that personnel need to safely operate in a Wildland Fire environment.

Our company has been a regular supporter of the Rt-130 Training provided by Animal Fire Rescue. Penney Newell, our Senior Community Relations Manager, and her team running the Safe San Diego Initiative program have been instrumental in the success of the program.

So thank you, Animal Fire Rescue, for protecting our beloved animals here in San Diego!