Some years ago, a fire broke out in a Longham Beaver’s home during the night. Thanks to what he had learned at Beavers he managed to save the lives of his family. For his quick-thinking and bravery, he became one of the youngest-ever recipients of The Chief Scout’s Commendation for Meritorious Conduct.
This demonstrated the value of learning about fire safety at an early age, which our Beavers do by visiting Ferndown Fire Station.
Today we were hosted by Mike, the Watch Manager, who was the senior officer on the scene of that fire and also presented the Commendation! There could be no better person to teach our current generation of Beavers about the importance of what to do if a fire breaks out.
Everyone was fascinated looking at what goes on behind the scenes and see what it means to be a firefighter. We learned both amazing and useful things like:
- What a smoke alarm is for and how to test it at home,
- What to do in the event of a fire or if someone needs to be rescued,
- How to call 999 for the fire & rescue service,
- What happens at the station when an emergency call comes in and how the firefighters are alerted with their beepers,
- About the different hoses and their uses.
It wasn’t all about looking and listening though. We got to have a lot of fun by getting a bit wet and doings things like:
- Trying on the protective clothing. Some of it was heavy for the Beavers because of the high temperatures it must be able to withstand. It didn’t fit them very well though!
- Going inside a fire engine, sitting in the seats and seeing the onboard computer, learning about how they use the breathing apparatus in a smoke-filled environment,
- Looking in its storage compartments and discovering what all the tools are for, like the lifting bags used to raise things like a car when someone is trapped under it,
- Trying to lift the heavy cutting equipment that is used to remove sections of a car. This was a struggle, even for the adults, but the firefighters often have to use it for periods as long as 45 minutes!
- Looking around the fire Land Rover and finding out why it is so important in Ferndown due to the surrounding heathland,
- Trying to move a simulated body. It was much harder than it sounded and took many Beavers to move one the same weight as a real adult!
- Looking at the eye-opening photos of car accident scenes that the firefighters had been to.
What made today extra special was, just as we were finishing, the alarm went off and the firefighters were called out for real and we got to see them go into action! Thank you Mike and the rest of the crew.