The Countess of Erroll has joined firefighters from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) as they demonstrated their road rescue skills as part of a visit to BFRS Headquarters in Kempston.
Lady Erroll, the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, spent the morning at HQ alongside her husband Lord Erroll, and Chairman of the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Cllr David McVicar, as they all had a go with the equipment used to free people from a damaged vehicle and worked with Firefighters to cut off the doors and roof of a car.
At the end of her tour Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller presented Lady Erroll with a scarf embroidered with the Service’s emblem and her husband with a tie with a similar crest.
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Afterwards, Lady Erroll said: “I was very impressed by the demonstrations I saw. My respect for our firefighters, already great, has grown even more. They do a terrific job and we should all support them in their vital work protecting the public. I really enjoyed having a go at cutting up a car, though the equipment was very heavy and the protective uniform very big on me!”
Also as part of the tour they visited the Training Centre and after being shown around they watched two Firefighters extinguish a small fire in the Service’s “fire house”. She saw how Firefighters use thermal imaging cameras to see inside burning buildings and behind closed doors. The cameras enable them to assess the extent of a fire before they even engage with the blaze and to find pockets of heat that might re-kindle a fire if left unattended.
Lady Erroll also took an interest in the breathing apparatus that the Firefighters used to protect them from the smoke and Chief Fire Officer, Paul Fuller, helped explain how audio warnings enable them to be aware of the amount of oxygen available to them so they don’t run out.
The group then moved on to the new Fire Control room and talked to the staff who take the 999 calls and send the fire crews to incidents. Station Commander Jane Clarke and Crew Commander Rebecca Lewington demonstrated a system that holds information on properties to alert Firefighters attending of any risks such as stored gas bottles.
Cllr David McVicar, Chairman of the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority, added: “It was a pleasure to welcome Lady Erroll to see our Firefighters demonstrating the rescue equipment carried on our fire appliances. I was aware how heavy this equipment is but having tried to use it for myself I applaud the levels of fitness our firefighters have to achieve to use these tools, it was not easy."