The 10 Steps to Situational Awareness is a risk assessment process aimed at emergency services when planning for or responding to Incidents Involving Animals. The toolkit was developed by BARTA in support of UK Fire and Rescue Service National Operational Guidance, which highlights the impact of animals and potential for their presence at virtually any operational incident. The 10 Step process takes a foreseeable situation and assesses a variety of factors to conclude whether tactical commanders possess skills and resources to actively mitigate risk and return the situation to normality, or require specialist support from within or outside of their organisation. Through assessing species, numbers and context of animals involved, an appreciation of risk will begin to form and skill sets, if necessary to interact with animals. But to be situationally aware, there needs to be a wider understanding of the situation, the environmental constraints and hazards, ultimate goal of the interaction, the presence and impact of people at the scene and additional hazards identified, to or from animals. This information will help determine the nature, speed and weight of response from a lead agency who may have jurisdiction for the event or the environment it has occurred in.
Jim comes from the New Forest in Southern England where he began his career as a forest manager, working in private and state managed forests including a season as a first attack forest firefighter in Victoria, Australia.
In 1996 he joined Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service where his rural background was instrumental in developing awareness of a range of rural issues, including response to animal rescues, agricultural fire safety and wildfire. But it was dedication to animal response that defined Jims career. For 12 years Jim led a local and national drive to improve knowledge and skills for this challenging operational incident type, orchestrating teams within Hampshire and training rescue Team Leaders and veterinarians throughout the UK and further afield. Jim is internationally recognised and has been keynote speaker or coordinator of conferences in the UK, Turkey, USA, Australia and Europe. He supported the vet services team at the 2012 Olympics and lectures at veterinary universities throughout the UK.
In 2017 Jim took a sabbatical and worked at the University of California, School of Veterinary Medicine, helping promote joint understanding within veterinary and fire fighting communities in preparation for the needs of animals during rescues or disasters.
Jim co-founded BARTA in 2012 and together with Prof Josh Slater, promoted the growing initiative alongside their regular careers. In response to an expanding need, in 2019 Jim became full time Director of BARTA.
Additionally, Jim continues to respond operationally to animal incidents through his on call role as an Animal Rescue Specialist with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.