Last updated: 09/07/2018, 6:17 PM

Think twice before calling 999 for animal rescues

24/08/2015 00:00

We're urging people to think twice before calling 999 for animal rescues, as new figures show that last year rescuing little creatures cost around £13,000* a month. 

Firefighters went to 557 animal rescues in 2014/15. These incidents have steadily decreased since we started our animal rescue campaign but while the absolute minimum number of firefighters are sent to these incidents, the level remains too high.


This year's rescues include a fox with it's head stuck in a bucket and a squirrel trapped on a satellite dish.

Cats contributed to 287 of all animal incidents the Brigade were called to, while dogs accounted for less than a third with 82 call outs.

Call the RSPCA first

London Fire Brigade Director of Operations Dave Brown said: "We always be there in an emergency but not all animal rescues need our help. As well as being time consuming, animal rescues cost the tax payer and I'm sure most people would prefer their money was being spent on training or fire prevention work, than cats up trees.

"If an animal is injured or in distress please call the RSPCA's 24 hour helpline on 0300 1234 999 or go to

A fox cubs face sticking out of a concrete wall

Outfoxed: the Brigade rescued a fox cub that had a bit of trouble earlier this year.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: "The RSPCA rescued 127,321 wild, exotic, farm and domestic animals from dangerous and distressing situations last year.

"Wherever we can, the RSPCA will aim to rescue an animal or animals without calling on the resources of the Fire and Rescue Service."

Our advice

  • Never put yourself at risk to save an animal
  • Where possible, keep an eye on your pets to avoid them getting into tricky situations
  • Remember, the RSPCA will call London Fire Brigade if needed

Other bizarre incidents include:

  • A chimp in a chimney in Tower Hamlets
  • A snake on the roof of a mosque in Camden
  • A fox with its head stuck in a bucket on the roof of a shed in Newham 
  • A squirrel trapped on a satellite dish in Wandsworth 
  • A hampster trapped in a fire place in Waltham Forest 
  • A cat trapped in a letter box in Hounslow 
  • A squirrel trapped in a bin in in Wandsworth

* It costs around £295 plus VAT to send one appliance to incident. The cost to the Brigade of £13000* a month has been calculated on the basis of an attendance to one of these incidents costing £290. This rate (£295) is the rate used to recover costs charged for services, such as repeated calls to shut in lift releases and false alarms from automatic systems.