Firefighters take the plunge as Portsmouth station opens its door to public

Anthony Russell, Watch Manager at Cosham fire station gets dunked by Rupert Knighton-Callister, 3 whose great grandfather was a fireman at Cosham. Picture Credit: Keith Woodland
Anthony Russell, Watch Manager at Cosham fire station gets dunked by Rupert Knighton-Callister, 3 whose great grandfather was a fireman at Cosham. Picture Credit: Keith Woodland
Driftwood Festival organiser Paul Cobb  Picture: Malcolm Wells (142242-6774C)

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A fire station opened its doors to scores of visitors to help them learn more about the work that goes on there.

Cosham fire station’s annual open day saw people of all ages join firefighters to take in entertainment and fire safety education.

Children got the chance to explore the inside of the fire engines at the station in Wayte Street, Cosham, try on uniform and see the equipment the fire crew use.

Millie, one of only three Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service dogs, stopped by with her handler Andy Earl.

There were various stalls set up which provided information on fire safety.

Meanwhile, staff from Hampshire Constabulary were there to give out advice and Highbury College representatives attended to tell visitors about their public services course.

Mark Larrimore, Southsea station manager, said it was important for the fire stations in the Portsmouth area to run open days like these.

He said: ‘The most important thing is to engage with the public, especially as they use our services.

‘It gives us a good opportunity to meet our residents here in Portsmouth and to send out an important message about making places safer.’

Andrew Impey, 10, from Cosham, attended the event. He is on a mission to visit every fire station in the UK.

He said: ‘Open days like this are a great opportunity to see what the fire service has to offer and to meet the firefighters.

‘I’ve really enjoyed coming to Cosham fire station open day and am already looking forward to next year’s.’

Andrew has visited 801 fire stations in the past 18 months. There are more than 2,300 in the UK.

Firefighters got the chance to cool down in the popular Dunk a Fireman tank game, in which children threw sponges at a target to dunk the crew members into a pool of freezing water.

Tommy Lear, four, and his one-year-old brother Benji Lear both attended the open day with their parents.

Tommy said his favourite part was dunking a firefighter.

He said: ‘It was really fun and also funny to see him go in the water. I’m really enjoying myself and I’ve seen lots of things. I also liked going in the fire engine.’

Destiny Ford, five, from Waterlooville also liked exploring the emergency vehicles.

‘It was really fun in there,’ she said.