Families across the Northern Beaches visited their local fire station today.

More than 240 Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) stations across NSW opened their doors to the public today (Saturday, 14 May). It was the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic an Open Day has been held. On the Northern Beaches, five stations including Avalon, Narrabeen, Dee Why, Forestville and Manly were open to the public from 10.00am – 2.00pm.

FRNSW Open Day aims to allow the public to see how firefighters do their job, entertaining children with the ‘big toys’ and demonstrations while informing parents with a fire safety message in time for the winter months. Children received a number of handouts, including replica fire helmets and ‘keep looking while cooking’ wooden spoons.

Here is a snapshot of the day at five of our local fire stations:

Avalon

Fire and Rescue NSW Open Day Avalon

Forecast sunny weather across the Northern Beaches saw families coming out in droves to visit their local firefighters. The crew at Avalon Fire Station warmly welcomed batches of inquisitive visitors. Young children and their parents came to investigate ‘Pump 60’ which is the Avalon fire truck.

Dee Why

Fire and Rescue NSW Open Day Dee Why

It may have been FRNSW Open Day today, but firefighters were all still on duty, and families visiting Dee Why Station found themselves waiting for a few minutes while the ‘CAFS Pump 69’ fire truck responded to a genuine call. The crew was back at station around 15 minutes later, with excited kids enjoying the bonus of seeing a real call-out.

Forestville

Fire and Rescue NSW Open Day Forestville

According to the Forestville Station Officer, around 400 children had visited Forestville Fire Station by lunchtime. Enthusiastic participants were able to use a demonstration fire hose setup, and witness what happens when you try to put out an oil fire with water (main image).

Fire and Rescue NSW Open Day Forestville

As a hazardous materials (Hazmat) specialised station, Forestville responds to spills that threaten the environment and human health, including fuel and chemical spills.

Manly

Fire and Rescue NSW Open Day Manly

Local residents filled  the newly renovated Manly Fire Station (which is actually at Fairlight). Manly’s Station Officer said the response from the public was ‘overwhelming’ and was incredibly pleased to see so many children visit the fire station.

Fire and Rescue NSW Open Day Manly

Manly’s specialised ladder platform truck was on proud display and a demonstration of its capability was given when it retrieved cooked sausages for lunch from the barbeque on the second level. Manly firefighters also gave active displays of how to use fire extinguishers and fire blankets to control a fire.

Narrabeen

Fire and Rescue NSW Open Day Narrabeen

Narrabeen Fire Station’s prime position on Pittwater Road saw a steady stream of families visiting. Narrabeen was jointly hosting Open Day with Mona Vale Fire Station. Firefighter Brett (image above) explained salvage equipment such as the jaws of life that Narrabeen Station carries as a specialised rescue crew.

Fire and Rescue NSW Open Day Narrabeen

The much-prized red helmets were snapped up early by eager children but there were plenty of stickers and wooden spoons to go around. The surprised Station Officer found himself saluting two young girls (image above) who were wearing the black helmet of the FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter.

With a house fire at Narrabeen only this week, one of the key messages from all fire stations was the offer of home fire safety visits, a free service from FRNSW.

Minister for Emergency Services Steph Cooke was delighted at the opportunity for the community to visit their local fire station.

“The FRNSW Open Day is a wonderful opportunity for families to see close up what being a firefighter is all about,” said Minister Cook.

FRNSW Acting Commissioner Megan Stiffler said firefighters use Open Day to encourage households to have a working smoke alarm installed in time for winter.

Megan Stiffler

Megan Stiffler

“Each year around 20 people tragically die in NSW from fires that could have been prevented, while hundreds more suffer life-changing injuries. Our personnel do so much more than fight fires. From road crashes, hazardous material incidents and natural disasters to urban search and rescue, our crews are prepared for anything and ready to help anytime, anywhere,” said Acting Commissioner Stiffler.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate, Martin Berry, Luke Gavahan, Northern Beaches On Scene

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