Bracknell Fire Station, located on Downshire Way, opened its doors to hundreds of queuing visitors on Tuesday, 25 October during half-term week. The Open Day provided an opportunity for local communities to go behind the scenes with staff from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS), and other emergency services.
Visitors queued outside the station’s gates as they waited to get a close-up experience with several different firefighting vehicles on show and to speak with staff to find out what it takes to work in today’s modern fire and rescue service.
Live demonstrations of emergency situations took place throughout the day, including rescues from height with ladders, firefighting drills using the station’s training tower, and the use of powerful cutting tools to rescue a car driver from a road traffic collision scenario.
Also on show was an aerial ladder platform (ALP) from Whitley Wood Fire Station. The ALP is a relatively new appliance which joined RBFRS’s modern fleet of vehicles in November 2021, improving the service’s response to complex operations and incidents involving high-rise buildings. It allows firefighters to rescue people and extinguish fires from a height of up to 45 metres, while delivering more than 3,500 litres of water per minute through the vehicle.
Blue light emergency services
The event was attended by all three blue-light emergency services, including staff from Thames Valley Police and South Central Ambulance Service. Visitors were given the opportunity to practice emergency resuscitation techniques, familiarise themselves with a portable defibrillator, sit inside ambulances, fire engines and police emergency vehicles and of course ensure their blue lights and sirens were working properly.
Volunteer staff from Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue (BLSAR) were also on hand to share information about the important collaborative work they do alongside the emergency services. They use specialist skills and the latest search and rescue technology, such as drones and water rescue sonar to assist in the search for high-risk vulnerable missing persons
Commenting on the Bracknell Fire Station open day, Steve Borham, Station Manager said: “Today’s event was about inviting our local communities into the station and providing them with a behind the scenes look at what we, and our blue light partners do. Days like today help create greater awareness about the important work we as a fire service deliver to the people of Berkshire. I hope it will generate further interest in the fire service and perhaps encourage people to find out more about the varied and exciting career opportunities we can offer.”
“We also had several volunteer organisations present handing out important community safety messages and information. As well as attending emergency incidents, the fire protection and prevention work we do is absolutely key to maintaining the safety of our communities. I’m overwhelmed by today’s response to our open day and delighted to see so many visitors, parents and families enjoying themselves and taking a real interest in the work we do in serving our communities.
“Many of our own off-duty firefighting staff gave up their free time to ensure today’s event went smoothly and provided our visitors with a memorable experience, so a huge thank you to them also.
“I’d also like to thank our partner agencies from Thames Valley Police, South Central Ambulance and Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue for helping to make this such an exciting and memorable event.”
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s next Open Day will take place at Langley Fire Station on Friday, 28 October from 10am to 3pm.