Visiting your local fire station
We are not currently arranging visits to fire stations by members of the public because of the coronavirus pandemic. In the meantime please watch this virtual tour of Crownhill Fire Station.
Nathan: Hi, my name's Nathan. I'm a firefighter here at Crownhill Fire Station on blue watch. Today I'm going to talk to you a little bit about some of the fire appliances that we have, a little bit about watch life and our personal protective equipment. Blue watch 'shun [firefighters stand to attention with their feet together, the group are stood in a line at the back of the fire engine] blue watch stand at ease [firefighters move their feet apart].
Ryan: Hi my name is Ryan I'm the watch manager here at Crownhill blue watch. We parade like this at the start of every shift, it's at this point that I will tell the team what work activities we've got planned. Then after the parade, the firefighters will immediately check their own personal fire kit and will then will go around the appliance and check various equipment to make sure that we are ready for any emergency incident we might have.
Tim: Hi my name's Tim I'm a firefighter on Crownhill blue watch.
[Tim is in a classroom with firefighter's personal protective equipment (PPE) laid out on the floor]
I'm going to talk to you a little bit today about the personal protective equipment we get issued as firefighters. Come on down and get it all laid out. So our main structural fire kit consists of our navy blue kit and which is a firefighting tunic, and also our firefighter leggings or trousers. We mainly use that in situations where we're likely to encounter a fire.
Along with that, we wear our helmet okay, which has a torch and also goggles, and also a visor built into the helmet itself. We wear a firefighter snood or a firefighting hood this is to protect our cheeks and ears when we're wearing breathing apparatus and also we have our firefighting gloves. We want to make sure all our skin is covered if we are going to a firefighter environment.
We also have our leather steel toe capped and steel soled boots to wear with all this kit. We do have the option of wearing a lightweight fluorescent tunic. This is mainly used in RTC-type environments.
My colleague over there is fully kitted up so you can see what it all looked like on.
[A firefighter wearing full PPE walks over to stand next to Tim]
[Tim gestures to the different parts of the equipment that the firefighter is wearing] So we've got, from the top, we've got a helmet with goggles down we've got our snood, and our firefighter tunic as well we've got firefighting gloves coming up. Moving down, leggings and our firefighter leather boots.
[Change in the background - Tim is now stood behind a fire engine] So along with our main structural fire kit, we also have our self-contained breathing apparatus sets, if you come over here, I've got it all laid out on the table.
[Tim stands behind a table with a cylinder and different pieces of equipment laid out]
Okay, so all this together is called our interspiro incurve-E self-contained breathing apparatus set. This here protects us in toxic environments. Come a little closer I'll talk through each bit individually.
Okay so this here is our breathing apparatus tally [Tim is holding a yellow rectangular plastic card on a key ring] that's where we put our name cylinder pressure and our time in. We then pass this to our breathing apparatus control officer who looks after the crews when they're in a smoky environment.
[Tim holds up the display unit which shows a gauge]
Here we have a digital display unit this gives us our current cylinder pressure.
Just below that on the waistband we have our cable entanglement cutters, and also next to that, we have our wireless radio adapter [Tim holds up a walkie-talkie style radio] that links to our communication unit that's on our face map which I'll show you shortly. Over on the other side, we have a torch and below that, we have our retractable personal line on the waistband itself.
Moving on to the face mask, it is a detachable face mask and on the side there, is the wireless radio link that we talked about previously. Moving on to the cylinder, this is our cylinder. It is made from carbon fibre and it weighs 3.8 kilograms. It has a compressed air capacity of 2,430 litres and when charged it has a maximum charge pressure of 300 bar and has a working duration of 39 minutes.
[Shot changes to Nathan standing in front of the side door of the fire engine, the hoses and different connectors are visible]
Nathan: When going into a building fire alongside the breathing apparatus sets that we've just shown you, the primary piece of equipment that we use is this hose reel jet. What it does is, it allows us to deliver water to tackle the fire. It's already pre-made so it's really quick and easy for us to use which is really important. When going into a building that is completely filled with smoke and has zero visibility, it's important that firefighters use the correct search method.
Here we have Lance and Nathan firefighters on the watch who are going to demonstrate this technique for us.
[Two firefighters wearing PPE stand next to each other. One of them has the hose reel in their hand and the other holds on to the hose.]
This technique is called the BA shuffle.
[The firefighters walk forwards moving one foot out in front of them side-to-side gradually, they also waving their hands up above their heads and then down around their body.]
Firefighters will use their feet to make sure that the floor is solid and safe for them to walk on. They will also use their arms to check for any hazards that they cannot see that they may walk into.
On top of using this technique, they will also move apart to search for casualties.
[The firefighters are stood about one metre apart]
The additional piece of equipment they might use is a thermal imaging camera and this will help them find anybody who might be in the building.
[Nathan lifts a thermal imaging camera up in front of the camera, it shows the firefighters on the camera's display screen.]
Tim: Here we have Lance and Nathan again who are going to demonstrate how we use the hose reel jet within a building fire.
[Two firefighters kneel on the floor with one of them sitting behind the other.]
The first technique that they will use is something that we call a short pulse demonstrated here by Nathan.
[The firefighter holding the hose, sprays it up into the air just above their head]
The idea of this short pulse is to cool the area immediately above and around the firefighters to ensure their safety.
The next technique they will use is something that we call the long pulse.
[The firefighter holding the hose points the hose up in the air in front of them in the direction they're moving towards. A heavy stream of water sprays out]
And this again is designed to cool the area within the fire compartment that they are going to be going into.
Finally, the last technique that we use when firefighters get close to the fire they use a method called the painting technique.
[The firefighter holding the hose points the hose up in the air in front of them. A gentler trickle of water comes out].
The idea of this is that we extinguish the fire using the least amount of water so that conditions and the amount of steam don't get too much for firefighters within the firefighting compartment.
[Shot changes to Lance standing in front of a fire engine]
Lance: Now I'm going to talk to you about our on-call appliance, based here at Crownhill. We're going to talk about the rescue equipment that they have. It's road traffic collision equipment. So if you follow me I'll show you where it's stowed. [Lance walks round to the side of the fire engine where the shutter doors are open with equipment on display].
We're going to talk about two pieces of equipment; we're going to talk about our cutter and we're also going to talk about our spreader. My colleague is going to demonstrate them both to you so we'll first go with the cutter.
[The firefighter holds a cutter which is sitting on a table]
He's got his full personal protective equipment on, he's got his visor down. A single switch-on button.
This would be really good if you wanted to cut a roof off of a car or you wanted to cut a door off. We could use this equipment really quickly.
Right, now Tim's gonna get the spreader.
Again it's the same way to turn it on, and the same method to use it. This would be really good if you wanted to pop the bonnet off of a car, as you can see it spreads really wide. [The spreader opens up]
Not only does it spread it, but it can also crush so if we needed to make more room on a door we can crush the door.
The equipment also gets very heavy so we try and rotate personnel.
We've now spoken about our road traffic collision equipment and now it's time to see it in action.
[Shot changes to a firefighter in PPE standing in front of a car holding the spreading equipment]
Nathan here is first off going to demonstrate the use of our spreading equipment. We'd use this when a car is involved in a road traffic collision and the door has taken some damage and we can no longer open it in conventional means. Therefore we bring in the spreading equipment and we use that to pop your door out which is what Nathan will demonstrate now.
[Nathan puts the spreader in a gap where the door of the car is damaged]
That took a couple of attempts but what that now gives us, is nice clean clear access to any casualties that are in the vehicle. On top of that, we can also use our cutting equipment to create even more space for us to work in.
[Nathan puts the cutter around the pillar in the middle of the car, just behind the door and cuts the metal apart]
As you can see there, that's a really nice clean cut and that occurred really quickly which is really important. What we can do from here is make multiple cuts around different points of the vehicle and remove the roof completely. This means it's a lot easier for us to remove any casualties from the vehicles.
[Shot changes to Tim in the basket of an aerial ladder appliance]
Tim: Hello again. At Crownhill fire station, we've got two main pumping appliances but we also have our special appliance which is our aerial ladder platform. This aerial ladder platform can deliver 3,800 litres of water a minute and it weighs 26 tons. It can be used as a safe working platform for rescues and it also has the ability of going 34 metres high. If you come with me we'll go up top.
[The aerial ladder platform extends up in the air. The video speeds up showing Tim using the controls to lift the platform]
So now we're at 34 metres, we have the choice now of delivering water to a fire or because it gives a great aerial shot of the fireground, so I'll give you a little 360 of what it looks like up here.
[The camera pans around a view of Plymouth]
Also if you look down, right the way down, you can just see our boss down there as well.
[The camera looks down on a view of several fire engines parked below the platform]
Lance: Thank you for watching our video, I hope you found it useful and informative.
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Thank you and stay safe.