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Fire: Lowestoft meeting to discuss cuts to Fire Service budget in Suffolk

Written by RSS Poster Alerter - the firefighters blog

SFRS-logoAround 80 people attended the public meeting on 1st February where the Chief Fire Officer, Mark Hardingham and Cllr Matthew Hicks sort to explain and 'sell' the proposed cuts to frontline fire engines and firefighters.

The meeting, held at the swanky new council offices at Riverside, Lowestoft was well stage-managed and largely deflected any major spats for the the Fire Service or County Council.

We sat on tables of 8, each with an officer present to answer general questions - our table was fortunate to have local Group Commander, John Tiffen.

I have to say I've never seen so many officers in one place unless you count Endeavour House...

The Chief gave a short presentation to explain the reduction and now plateau-ing of fires and RTC's and where the proposed cuts will be. We then, on each table discussed the proposals with the officer and numerous Lowestoft firefighters present able to answer questions from members of the public. Hopefully the answers given by the firefighters were...

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Fire: The Future of the Fire Service...

Written by RSS Poster Alerter - the firefighters blog

Yesterday's serious fire in Sudbury, Suffolk highlighted something we all take for granted...

Dial 999, ask for the Fire Service and within minutes you'll have fire engines arriving from all directions.

Last night that worked just fine. 

Suffolk crews assisted by those from Essex worked hard to contain the fire, rescue people and stopped the fire escalating to more properties.

But will this be the case when hard hitting budget cuts are forced upon our already hard-pressed fire and rescue services?

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is already the cheapest to run fire service in the UK when based on the population it serves. Yet very soon it will have to save another £1 million. That's £1 million from a service that has done all it can to save money without affecting frontline services. That's £1 million from a budget of just £22 million. And it's likely there'll be further cuts after that.

A public consultation has taken place to see what the people and businesses of Suffolk want from their fire service. I imagine the...

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Fire: Firefighters rescue horse from mud at Blundeston, Lowestoft

Written by RSS Poster Alerter - the firefighters blog

Horse-rescue-29Mar14-02Edging slowly down Cotmer Road in the lunchtime traffic towards The Flying Dutchman and our Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) does its little doorbell ring. Now our MDT is slow at the best of times and we thought it was just updating our status after leaving Lowestoft South Fire Station a few minutes back.

After a few more seconds and a couple of prods of the screen, Gary announced, "We've got a shout!"

I let the traffic in front move off as we waited to see to where and what we were now going to be heading to.

"Horse in mud, Flixton Road, Blundeston", said Gary...

That's good - it's in the direction we're travelling but right through a very busy Oulton Broad.

Horse-rescue-29Mar14-03Reach forward press the 999 button to get all the blue lights on followed by the 2 C/O button to changeover from the old two tones to the 3 different 'yelps & wails' that we now have.

The queue of traffic has already seen us light up like a giant Christmas tree and has started to edge to the side of the road to give me some room. Down the...

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Fire: Lowestoft Firefighters Charity Car Wash raises £586

Written by RSS Poster Alerter - the firefighters blog

Car-wash-01On a bright Saturday morning Lowestoft South Fire Station was transformed into a drive through car wash to raise much-needed funds for The Fire Fighters Charity.

Cars were queueing, the hoses were spraying, the suds were flying and the buffers were buffing the freshly washed cars with energetic enthusiasm...

As always, we're chuffed to bits that the people of Lowestoft come out to support their local firefighters

Welephant made an appearance, enticing motorists to come and have their car washed. Thankfully Welephant didn't get run over as he made numerous trips to collect money from the passing drivers... I took over as I wasn't too happy that a young elephant would be confident crossing the road by himself!

Car-wash-02I also took the opportunity to show some of our younger visitors around our fire engine. It's great to see the big smiles as they clamber aboard 'Jupiter' and ask for the umpteenth time if my name is Sam...

With some of our crew having to get away we left Lowestoft South just after midday...

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Fire: Lowestoft firefighter blog resumes...

Written by RSS Poster Alerter - the firefighters blog

I know, I know! It's been absolutely ages since I last wrote a blog post. In fact it's a full 18 months - I could have sworn it was just a few months.

The last blog I wrote was about the funeral of Al Soards, a much-loved and much-missed firefighter colleague.

Running my own businesses, a shortage of bloggable shouts and life in general has meant that posts here have taken a back seat.

Well, with a few shouts recently, I thought it was high-time to resume my firefighters blog...

Coming up...

  • Charity car wash
  • Horse rescue
  • Belle Coachworks fire
  • Two caravans well alight

 



Fire: Fire at Lowestoft Hotel

Written by RSS Poster Alerter - the firefighters blog

It was a real shock to the system when my alerter kicked into life not long after getting back from our regular Tuesday evening drill session.

Over at the fire station I was first in and grabbed the drivers spot. Given the icy roads we actually got mobile with a crew of six in pretty sharp order.

The tip sheet showed we were off to the Premier Inn hotel on Yarmouth Road, Lowestoft to smoke in room coming from a fusebox.

We were just at the Tesco roundabout when Neil on the Lowestoft South pump called us up to say they were behind us, so, unusually, we would be first pump in.

Mel made his way with one of our crew to reception and then on to the affected room up on the first floor of the hotel. His initial thoughts were that 2 BA and dry powder fire extinguishers would do the job. But, as he approached the room, the message came back that it was a working job.

Cheesey and Jason from our pump were already donning their BA sets when this call came and hastened over to one of the hotel fire escapes.

White Watch had positioned their...

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Fire: Firefighters bid farewell to Al Soards

Written by RSS Poster Alerter - the firefighters blog

Just over three weeks ago we were all stunned and totally shocked to hear of the tragic and very untimely death of Firefighter Alan Soards.

Al had joined Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service as a wholetime firefighter back in 2001 - the year before I joined as a retained firefighter. Like me, Al was stationed at Normanshurst Fire Station in Lowestoft and our paths crossed many times in training and on shouts. 

He was a committed professional and would always put himself forward to be involved with anything to do with the Fire Service. Al joined the Marine Incident Response Group, ready to fight fires on ships out at sea. He joined the retained section at Normanshurst and got himself known and well-liked by all of our crew.

We teamed up to present Learn and Live, a hard-hitting road safety campaign targetting high school and college students. Al was central to delivering Learn and Live to literally thousands of young people. Reliving his own story of how he lost friends in an RTC made the message all the more powerful...

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Fire: Single vehicle RTC, Denmark Road, Lowestoft

Written by RSS Poster Alerter - the firefighters blog

It's always a shock to the system when my little vibrating sidekick springs into life in the wee small hours... And at precisely 0333 this morning my heart rate shot through the roof as I tumbled out of bed in response to my alerter giving it the big 'un.

Bleary-eyed I jogged over to the fire station and, being first in, took the drivers slot and grabbed the tip sheet to see where and what we were off to.

With sleep still clearing I registered that we had a single vehicle RTC on Denmark Road, near the railway station and barely a mile away and that the car was on its roof with persons trapped. That certainly focusses the mind!

This was my first shout in our new pump as driver - not the time of day I'd have chosen to operate this state-of-the-art piece of kit. Daytime and me more fully awake would have been much better! Beggars, choosers and all that...

Out of the station and away and my chance to experience the acceleration of these new pumps - it's impressive! We heard the watch book in attendance and we...

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Fire: Crazy turnout at German fire station - great video...

Written by RSS Poster Alerter - the firefighters blog

This video was shot back in 1993 in a small German town.

There's some sort of civic event happening in the centre when the sirens go and the local firefighters get a shout.

I gave up counting how many crew turned in, running from all directions.

Watch out for the guy in firekit who runs after one of the appliances and never quite catches it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzPa2O8kJNs&feature=g-vrec



Fire: Crazy turnout at German fire station - great video...

Written by RSS Poster Alerter - the firefighters blog

This video was shot back in 1993 in a small German town.

There's some sort of civic event happening in the centre when the sirens go and the local firefighters get a shout.

I gave up counting how many crew turned in, running from all directions.

Watch out for the guy in firekit who runs after one of the appliances and never quite catches it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzPa2O8kJNs&feature=g-vrec





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