Event review: Open Day at Old Town fire station

By - Thursday 17th August, 2017

Visitors of all ages had fun and learned about the work of Croydon’s firefighters

Photo author’s own.

My mother and I decided that Croydon Fire Station’s open day sounded interesting, and arrived at 12.00pm on Saturday 11th August, just as its big glass doors of the fire station in Old Town were about to be opened. We joined a queue of people, including many families, all waiting to get in. Parents were taking photos of their kids in front of the fire engines and through the glass panels, an inflatable slide and fire alarm mascot could be seen. This was clearly a real family open day with plenty to interest all ages.

Photo of author by Liz Sheppard-Jones, used with permission.

Around the large inner courtyard was a selection of things to look at and activities to do. There were a number of fire engines, one a very old-fashioned one which we weren’t allowed to touch, stalls with fire safety information, exhibitions of equipment and even a model ‘burning house’ on which children could train a real water jet. There was rescue equipment and fire fighting kit on display:  boots, hoods, helmets, gloves and breathing apparatus to carry on shoulder straps, which visitors could try on (see picture to the right). This was a thought-provoking experience as my  vision was quite limited through the mask and the kit was heavy. It gave  me an insight into  the conditions in which firemen and women work.

Towards the back of the courtyard is the tower where Croydon’s fire services can practice rescues from high buildings, and there we saw the lifting equipment and engine-mounted ladders being demonstrated.  The ladder stretches to a very great height and we could watch the officer who controls the ladder at work.

In a corner of the courtyard was the attraction that really made my day: the chance to meet two German Shepherd puppies who had been selected for training as police dogs. We were told that the dogs were tested at seven weeks old to see if the were temperamentally suited to training: testing includes sensitivity to loud noise, staying calm, being cooperative and so on. These puppies were suitable and just about to begin their training. They were very obedient and friendly, licking me as I held them, and didn’t seem to mind so much contact with strangers. This was hands down my favourite part of the day. I pounced on the opportunity to hold a puppy and felt a sense of motherly protection, stroking its fur profusely. It was wonderful to see police dogs in their early days.

Photo author’s own.

To help us remember our day, there was selection of fire station themed memorabilia such as hats and toys, and goodie bags for all who gave to The Firefighters’  Charity. The goodie bag had everything a little kid would love: a ball with the fire station logo, pens, pencils, two activity books and more.

 Thank you, Croydon Fire Brigade, for your hard work and dedication along with raising awareness of how to stay safe in a fire, what to do to prevent them and more! I’m sure many kids that day became inspired to become a fire fighter. I will definitely admit that I thought about it too.
Rufus Jones

Rufus Jones

Rufus is in year 10 at Archbishop Tenison's School, Croydon. He has a passion for art and design and a keen interest in history and writing, taking after his father. In his spare time he enjoys gaming.

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