Fire and rescue service’s first virtual open day is a big hit

A firefighter PE class, tours of fire engines and mock incidents were all part of West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s first virtual open day.

Worthing Fire Station crew show what happens when you put water on a hot fat pan fire
Worthing Fire Station crew show what happens when you put water on a hot fat pan fire

The online event was held on the fire service’s Facebook page on Saturday, and videos posted have already been viewed more than 16,000 times.

Ian Roberts, the personal training instructor for the fire and rescue service, and assistant PTI from Worthing Katie Schmidt put the crew at Midhurst through their paces with an interactive PE lesson.

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He took the firefighters and those participating at home through a functional and fun fire-themed workout.

At Littlehampton, Kate Gray and Chris Bristow took viewers through all the different types of kit firefighters wear responding to different incidents.

As well as Chris demonstrating the wade kit used for incidents in water, Kate had a look at a pre-1960s vintage fire kit including brass helmet, woollen tunic and personal issue axe.

Another video showed viewers around a fire engine and what is inside each of the lockers, from hydraulic cutters to hoses and pumps. The capabilities of both the aerial ladder platform, used for aerial firefighting or rescuing casualties from height, and the heavy rescue tender, which mainly attends incidents where people are trapped, were explained to online audiences.

Meanwhile Crawley Fire Station’s crew performed a rescue from a drill tower. Two firefighters used hose reels before another two team members wearing breathing apparatus entered the building via a ladder.

Angela and Billy the Bear

At Storrington a different type of rescue was demonstrated, this time with a crew showing how it would respond to a road traffic collision.

They show how they would rescue a person safely and quickly if they had become trapped in a vehicle by removing the roof of their car.

At Worthing Fire Station, firefighters demonstrated the wrong way of dealing with a hot fat fire.

Many of these incidents occur where people leave pans unattended in the kitchen. Fire and rescue service staff explain that putting water on to such a fire is the worst thing you can do and the service’s advice is to get out of the house, call 999 and stay out.

Viewers were shown around the lockers in a fire engine

Meanwhile the technical rescue unit demonstrated a rope rescue drill from a tower at its base in Horley.

Shaun, Kath, Steve and James over at Burgess Hill held a fire safety quiz with ten seconds each for viewers to answer the ten questions.

They ranged from asking how often people should test their smoke alarms to slightly easier ones about what colour the flashing lights are on a fire engine.

Katie Barford, who works in the fire safety department, provided advice for business owners to keep their workplace and employees safe.

It was quiz time at Burgess Hill on Saturday

Angela, along with Billy the Bear, kept kids entertained at the same time as passing on useful fire safety tips.

Deputy chief fire officer Neil Stocker, said: “Covid-19 has meant we couldn’t hold our normal station open days in the same way.

“But we were determined both the public and our staff, who love holding the open days, wouldn’t miss out. So, we took the open days online instead this year.

“It was a fantastic event on Saturday and was also a great opportunity for us to share some key fire safety messages that hopefully leave a lasting impression with people throughout the year.”

People can still catch up with all the videos that were posted for the event. The virtual open day can be found on the fire and rescue service’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:

Crawley firefighters demonstrating a tower rescue

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Wading kit demonstration at Littlehampton
PT session at Midhurst
Rope rescue drill at Horley by the technical rescue unit