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A Morning with Fire Engines and Fire Fighters

“ONE, TWO, and THREE… FIRE!” The firefighter springs into action and yanks on layers of his fire-protective suit, oxygen tank, and gas mask. Speed is of the essence. There is a fire raging somewhere in Singapore.

This was the scenario given to the firefighter who is required to put on his turn-out gear within a minute. Cheering him on, a group of Setsco staff with their family members counted down the seconds – all part of the show-and-tell at Bukit Batok Fire Station’s Open House on Saturday, 16 July 2016.

Every Saturday, from 9am to 11am, the fire stations in Singapore (except Jurong Island Fire Station) conduct an Open House for members of the public. The guides are on-duty firefighters and they are so patient with the little ones and inquisitive parents! They explain about their work and duties and the daily running of the station.

Our tour guide, Mr. Farron Tan mention to us that “full turn-out” occurred earlier in the morning, where most of the fire engines and ambulances are called out on duty. Hence they are short of manpower to help with the demonstrations and there are less equipment to explore. We are deeply disappointed that firefighters are not able to conduct water hosing demo for us due to the cleaning of firefighting equipment at that point of time.

However, another station that thrills the kids is the sliding pole demo. We shouted “FIRE…FIRE... FIRE!” and three firefighters come whooping merrily down the sliding pole in 2 different styles (American Style and Singapore Style). It is such a popular demo that the parents and kids ask for an encore.

Everyone is excited to pose with the red rhino and the fire trucks after the 40-minute tour. A fire call comes in through public announcement system just before we left. They herd us aside as we witness the firefighters put on all of the gears and get into fire truck within minutes.

The experience and knowledge gained from the demonstrations are invaluable to all of us as we get to know the fire station’s functions and features and the skills required to be a firefighter. Visitors are strongly encouraged to obtain such information during open houses like this so that we are prepared in times of emergency and crisis.