RVC Receives Life-Size Horse Model for Student Teaching

In 2001, the London Fire Brigade (LBF) approached the University of London's Royal Veterinary College (RVC) for assistance in training their firefighters in handling large animals. This resulted in the development of the first collaborative training program of this type between a fire service and a veterinary school, and for the past 11 years, the RVC has delivered a program of large animal handling training for the London Fire Brigade. In recognition of this, the LFB have donated a life-size horse model to the RVC, to be used for student training.

The model horse has been named "Fireman Sam" by the students. Fireman Sam was officially presented to Vivienne Heys, the member of staff who organized and participated in the training throughout the entire 11 years, and to student trainers Vikki Wyse and Emma Howson, on March 22, by London Fire Brigade Group Manager Andy Cane, Station Manager Mark Spier, and Watch Manager Jim Wennell.

Cane confirmed how valuable the training has been for the London firefighters and how much the crews have enjoyed their visits to the RVC.

Heys emphasized that this program would not have been possible without the students gave their time on Wednesday afternoons to help firefighters learn the skills required when working with horses and cattle. She also praised the staff who volunteered their time and skills to keep this program running for 11 years.

The presentation was followed by a tour of the Equine Diagnostic Centre, which allowed the visitors to see digital radiograph (X ray) equipment and view the computed tomography (CT) scanner, which allows a standing horse to be examined. Diagnostic imaging techniques were explained by one of the RVC's Clinical Training Scholars.

The fire officers were impressed by the scale of the operating table required for equine surgery, the hoist system required to position an equine patient, and the padded recovery loose box. The tour ended with a walk through the barn where students explained the care being given to the equine patients, two of which were due to return home that day following successful treatment.

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