Past Finders visited the Fire Station on Saturday 30th July. The group first enjoyed a presentation about the fire service from Gerard Jaffray (Manager) and Brian Summers (former Chief Fire Officer).
Gerard explained how the Volunteer Fire Brigade was formed in 1898 and how to begin with they only covered the Stanley area using a steam engine which was pulled by 4 men. They then went over some of the larger fire incidents including,
1944 - The Town Hall fire, which was apparently caused by a stray cigarette.
1982 - During the war the Fire Brigade were kept busy and one of the main building that caught fire was the Globe Store. Some of the items from the store were recovered and are on show in the Museum.
1984 - The Hospital fire. After the tragedy caused by the hospital fire it was decided a proper fire service was required and converted from the Volunteer Fire Brigade to the Fire and Rescue Service who were now responsible for the entire Islands. The service also moved to their present location along St Marys Walk.
Gerard then talked how the fire service works today and the intensive training all members have to carry out including RTAs, first aid, fire behaviour, camp fires, house fires, equipment, hazardous chemicals and fitness is essential.
After Gerard's talk Brian Summers then took to the stand and talked about his 30 years experience with the Fire Service. Brian first joined the Volunteer brigade in 1965 at the age of 15. Brian then explained about how fire extinguishers have changed over the years and showed the evolution from a bucket of water to the various options we have now.
Brian then talked about how the public used to be informed of fires. After WWII, there were sirens based at the Secretariat, on Philomel Hill, Pump Green and Brandon Road which had to be switched on manually. Now all members of the service have pagers for a more efficient response. Brian also explained how they used to get water to the fires. Trailer pumps used to be placed around town, the water would be taken from the harbour and then the trailers were attached to land rovers. So it was a lot of man power back in the day. Now there are fire hydrants placed all over Stanley.
After Brian finished his presentation, Jeremy Clarke ran through all the Breathing Apparatus kit and challenged the children to see if they could guess the weight of the kit correctly. Jack Sherriff was the lucky winner with a guess of 12.5kgs, he was awarded with a t-shirt and a badge.
It was then time to go and see the engines! Gerard and Jeremy went through all the equipment the trucks carry and then everyone was treated to a little spin in the trucks.
Thank you so much to Gerard Jaffray, Brian Summers and Jeremy Clarke for your presentations and showing us around. Also to Paula Newell for volunteering. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their visit.