Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Firefighters channel best sheep impressions and phone app for lamb rescue

NIFRS urges farming community to 'think safety first' to ensure fences, drains and ditches are maintained

By Claire Williamson

It was a rescue with a difference for the Northern Ireland Fire Service - as they came to the aid of a two-week-old lamb who became trapped in a pipe after wandering into a manhole.

The lamb found its way into the hole on the Corbally Road in Fintona, Co Tyrone and then travelled several metres down a narrow horizontal pipe.

It led to the firefighters trying their best sheep noises to try and coax the lamb back up the pipe.

But when this had limited success, they used a phone app of sheep sounds, which much to their joy was successful.

The lamb turned around and came back up the pipe - but not far enough for its rescuers to grab it.

Content not to let the sheep pull the wool over their eyes, firefighters turned to local knowledge to try a more traditional method.

They contacted local sheep farmer Harold Crawford who provided a trained sheep dog which went up the pipe and retrieved the lamb bringing it to safety.

It was then returned to the farmer.

In their Facebook post the fire service reassured the public that they were always available for emergencies throughout the incident.

It said: "Usually when we post about incidents like this we attract the occasional comment about waste of resources etc, so just to assure everyone that the appliance was available for emergencies throughout.

"We liaise with other agencies such as USPCA and an officer attends incidents such as this to assess, and we only commit resources if it is warranted."

The Fire Service issued a reminder to the farming community to think "safety first" when securing their animals.

A spokeswoman said: “At this time of year we are reminding the farming community to ‘think safety first’ and to ensure that potential hazards such as broken fences, drains and ditches are properly maintained.

“Animals in distress can pose a serious risk to the public or anyone attempting to rescue them.  Firefighters would rather members of the public call for assistance than tackle a serious animal rescue themselves as it may result in individuals placing themselves, and others in danger. We will do what we can to help keep the farming community and their livestock safe.”

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