Things Are Looking Up

Jon Southgate is a Station Commander, his role being that of Deputy District Commander of the South District of Suffolk’s Fire & Rescue Service

suffolk fire and rescue service

Hello again, by the time you read this, you’ll have seen that the skyline on the Waterfront has changed, with the addition of cranes and scaffolding at the ‘Winerack’. This is a significant project which our Fire Protection department will be heavily involved in to ensure that fire safety standards are met in relation to all communal areas.

Throughout the build, our operational crews will be visiting to familiarise themselves on the site and to pre-plan for rescues and hazards so that, if called upon for a real emergency, they can be prepared. I recall two incidents I was called to when the Buttermarket was being built (yes, I really am that old!) One was a construction worker who’d fallen off scaffolding in the middle of the building site, and once we’d attended to his injuries along with ambulance staff, we put him in a special stretcher and the tower crane conveyed him across the site and carefully lowered him onto the trolley! The other incident involved a massive overspill of concrete being poured that threatened the structure next door, so we had to spend several hours using our high pressure hoses to wash away the concrete and save a potential building collapse! I’ve told you before that we never know what to expect…

Back to the Waterfront, anyone living in the area above 1st or 2nd floor may get great views of the project coming together. You may also wonder how we deal with high rise incidents.

We have two aerial appliances in Suffolk: one in Ipswich with a 32m reach, and one in Bury St Edmunds which can reach up to 30m. Whilst they can’t reach the top of many tall buildings in Suffolk, this places a greater emphasis on structural fire safety precautions and the most appropriate procedures to ensure occupant safety. This is where you can play your part in minimising risk and on our website, there’s some great fire safety advice. 

Before I sign off; over the summer, you may see our crews training in the wet dock or beyond the lock gates as they train with our new fire boat – a 4m long dinghy with an outboard motor. We’ve already carried out training exercises with the port authority and we’ll be continuing this valuable work throughout the year simulating boat fires and rescues from water.

See you next month, stay safe!