A Strathcona County duck waddled off relieved this weekend after local firefighters reunited her with one of her wayward offspring.
Firefighters from Strathcona County Emergency Services were on scene at a residential street on Sunday (Jun.3) after receiving a call about a duckling who had fallen through a grate into a storm drain below. Rescue workers used a net to fish the young bird from the murky water and back to safety on the sidewalk.
Sunday’s call was the first duckling rescue of the season for the county’s emergency services workers. Andrew Spence, president of the Strathcona County Professional Firefighters Association, said firefighters get about a dozen calls this time every year alerting them to baby birds in trouble.
“Every spring It becomes a common occurrence to have citizens stop by the firehall and say, 'hey, there's a mama duck that's lost one of her little ones down a grate and into a sewer and you’ve got to help them.'”
In his 18 years as a firefighter and paramedic with Strathcona County, Spence has been on scene at a number of animal rescues, from ducks lost in suburban backyards to the dog that managed to get its foot stuck in a drain while having a bath.
“It's one of the joys of the job being able to help people in all different scenarios whether it's a medical incident, a fire, or helping them with their pet or an animal in the community,” Spence said.
Emergency services workers are looking after the safety of more than just dogs and birds when they respond to calls from concerned citizens about animals in danger. The health and safety of the community is a priority, Spence stressed, saying that people can put themselves at risk when they try to rescue pets or wildlife themselves.
“We're an all-hazards response whether it's a medical call or a fire call or a rescue call,” Spence said. “We want to make sure that we look after citizens’ needs, so in this case we'd much rather us go rescue the little ducks versus having someone go into a confined space that may be hazardous to them.”
Spence said that duckling rescues, which attract a lot of public attention, are one of the more positive parts of day’s work for firefighters and paramedics, who often face difficult situations on the job.
"It's kind of funny because it's not honestly our priority but if we can make a difference and make the citizens of the community smile and be happy, then that's some of the best parts of our job."