Dartford’s firefighters are thanking the local community for their support in helping to make the first open day held at the station in a number of years so successful.
The doors were opened to the public at 11am but local residents were lining up outside from 10.45am and it is estimated around 1500-2000 people visited the station throughout the day (Saturday, 6 August).
Visitors enjoyed putting out pretend fires, dressing up as firefighters, looking at the fire engines and equipment that crews use and learning essential advice to help keep them safe.
Dartford Watch Manager, Dave Read explained: "Our cooking fire demonstrations were very popular and highlighted just how easily a fire can start when we get distracted or leave cooking unattended and how quickly a fire can take hold."
Visitors got on their hands and knees to negotiate their way through Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) crawling gallery, which firefighters train in to test their ability to cope with the dark and confined spaces they face in a building fire.
Dave added: "During a fire it’s usually the smoke and poisonous gases that are the biggest threat, not the flames. Smoke naturally rises, so if you’re trying to get out of your home, staying low and even crawling on your hands and knees below the smoke could make the difference to you escaping safely."
KFRS’s community safety team talked to families about fire drills and how they are practised regularly at school but rarely talked about at home. Families were quizzed about what they would do and many went away saying they would use the safety tips given to prepare their own escape plans and would test them and their smoke alarms regularly, so they were prepared should the worst happen.
A purpose-designed hazard perception room proved popular with families who were asked to spot potential risks that could start a fire or cause injuries. It made people think about assessing the hazards in their own kitchens to help keep their loved ones safe.
Visitors also took away safety advice from Kent County Council’s road safety team, talked about how they could improve their health with the Kent Community Health Team and even learned first aid and vital life-saving CPR skills from the British Red Cross.
Although the refreshments available on the day were free, generous donations from the public were split between the British Red Cross who help thousands of vulnerable people in the UK and overseas in emergency situations and the Firefighters Charity.
Dave ended: "We were very grateful for everyone’s help in making the day so successful and particularly to the local residents who came along and supported us in such huge numbers. We certainly enjoyed meeting everyone and, judging by the feedback on the day and the comments and photos shared on KFRS’s Facebook page, visitors had a good day too and have taken away plenty of tips to help keep their families safe."