FIREFIGHTER dunking and smoke chamber adventures were two of Southsea Fire Station’s ways of educating the public at its open day.
While children enjoyed giving the crew a good soaking, the fun day on Saturday was also a lesson on what the fire and rescue service does.
Glenn Bowyer, station manager, said: ‘We probably had about 2,000 people through the doors.
‘It was constant from 10am.
‘This brings the community in.
‘Often the doors at the front are closed and this is an opportunity to say we are part of this community.
‘People should not just see us after a 999 call.’
Representatives from the ambulance and police services joined in with the day, as well as lifeboat and coastguard staff.
Helen McKnight, 56, from Buckland, visited the Somers Road station with her grandson Frankie Griffiths, three.
Helen said: ‘I like this from the education point of view.
‘You can never teach children enough at an early age. He really enjoyed the ambulance and putting the tourniquet on the arm.
‘He had a go at driving the fire engines and he put the policeman’s helmet on.
‘It’s good to see what happens to cars when things go wrong.’
At the end of the fun day was a ceremony to mark the twinning of the fire services in Portsmouth and Caen, in Normandy.
Five firefighters from Caen visited Southsea and the local crew hopes to visit the station in France soon.
Mr Bowyer said: ‘This is the first day of what we hope will be a closer working relationship – developing how we can make sure each other’s service gets better.
‘The idea is we will do a return visit.
A barbecue and other refreshments were laid on for members of the public, with cakes baked by some of the firefighters’ wives.
Pat Glasby, 82, and Pat Smith, 69, both from Waterlooville, were raising money for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance by selling toys.
Mrs Glasby said: ‘We come down here every year.
‘The air ambulance can get to places where nothing else can.’