Fire station is fighting fit

Pock fire station - Crew Manager - Baz Gargett
Pock fire station - Crew Manager - Baz Gargett

A £220,000 refurbishment has transformed Pocklington fire station and the service is urging the community to get involved in its work.

The building has undergone a complete overhaul, with three months of work bringing new changing facilities, conference space and disabled access to the station.

Pock fire station

Pock fire station

A recent open evening showcased the improvements and the crew are now hoping that more Pocklington residents will sign up to become a retained firefighter to keep the station operating at full steam.

Watch manager Stephen Macmillan explains: “It is the local community crewing the station and we do need more people who live within five minutes of the fire station to give us more cover.

“The facilities that we have now got are second to none and the training facilities are brilliant.

“We have got two engines here and we need to get them both out but we are struggling with getting enough crew members, particularly during the daytime.”

Retained firefighters are generally local people who live and work in the town so are available to respond to emergency calls at the drop of a hat.

In recent years the work of retained firefighters has expanded so that their training mirrors the skills used by full-time crew members as station manager Dan Meeke explains: “There is no difference between the standard of firefighters here and the firefighters on a full-time shift,” he said.

“The difference is the commitment that these guys put in around their other jobs.

“Over the last 10 years there have been big changes to what they are expected to do, with water rescue, working at heights and dealing with road traffic collisions all coming into the role.”

The Pocklington station has been kitted out with hi-tech water suits so that crew members are better equipped to deal with flooding and water based emergencies in the area.

Specialist training takes place at a centre in Holme Pierrepont, Nottinghamshire and crew manager Baz Gargett said that the extra skills are a valuable addition to the service.

He said: “We learn about the safe ways to travel in moving water and, with the new gear, we’re now much better equipped to deal with instances of flooding.

“It won’t be like during the floods of 2007 when we were wading about in wellies!”

Baz added that he would also like to see more local residents joining the crew.

“We want to make this fire station a community station so that everybody can get involved,” he said.

Residents will get another chance to see the improved facilities in January and learn more about becoming a retained firefighter at the station’s recruitment day on 21 January from 10am to 2pm.