Thursday, 23 September 2010

Trip to a British Fire Station

Today the kids and I joined the British Homeschoolers on a trip to St. Neots Fire Station. The kids and I already knew the emergency number in the UK was different--999. However, today I learned there is another emergency number available here in the UK and on the Continent--112.

I learned that there are many similarities and differences between firemen in the States and here in the UK.

The color of their trucks are different; that is obvious--but what do they called their fire trucks?

Answer: appliance

Uniforms are more or less the same with the same safety devices used

Fire equipment looks the same

Here we are looking for the fire hydrant--can you find it in this picture?

It is that small yellow rectangle on the ground by our feet! I didn't know that. I always wondered where the hydrants were!

The raised yellow H sign lets the Fireman know there is a hidden hydrant in the ground with in 3 meters of the sign. On the trucks they have detailed maps of every hydrant for the county, but the firemen still told tales of some hydrants being so overgrown with weeds that it hard for them to find them. With budgets cuts there are only 2 workers who maintain the hydrants and try to keep them clear and easily accessible.

The hydrant is approx 18 inches below ground.

Setting up the hydrant. All fire truck carry the needed pieces to connect to the hydrant.


All the kids got to try their hand at using the fire hose. Very exciting!

And of course go inside the fire truck and wear an fireman helmet:)

British Fire Engines have Blue lights!

More equipment seen at the fire house.

Some other difference my children noticed:
They did not have a fire pole to slide down -- some fire house do have them just this one did not!
The fire mascot is not Sparky the dog but "Blaze the Bear" but he was not available to be seen today:(

The sirens make a different sound then the ones in the states.

We all had a great visit to the firehouse and learn a lot. It is always fun to see how things are done in different countries.


  1. Interesting! I wonder if they have cases where buildings burn or people die because they couldn't get to the hydrant quickly enough??? There was a story here where the water company was putting locks on fire hydrants!

  2. Locks on Hydrants What for? I did ask that question and they said they always arrive on the scene with a water truck to get started. I can't remember the size of the water truck but I do remember thinking it wasn't enough!

    Thanks for stopping by Maureen

  3. Hi Anna-Marie!
    Thanks for the education on fire stations in England! Very interesting! I sent you an email yesterday! Clicked a vote for you too! Happy travels!

  4. Hi Tracy Thanks for the vote and I voted for you and sent you an email back. Your news about the paper sounds so exciting!

  5. That's why American hydrants have the pentagonal valve fitting on the top. On the firemen have the correct wrench to turn the valve. Of course, sometimes enterprising individuals create a homemade wrench.

  6. I love field trips to the fire station. We did one last fall, I think it was. It was so fun to look at your pictures, because it was almost exactly the same field trip we did here.
    Thanks for the reminisce.

  7. Hi Shelby thanks for stopping by. It was fun going because I wanted the see the difference between the two. I think we are going to the military one on base next month for boy scouts. My son loves Fire trucks:)

  8. Hi Anna-Marie,
    I voted for you today too! I still haven't heard anything from our local paper about "the" story :)
    Have safe travels and get in touch with me when you can!
    Tracy :)

  9. Hi! Sounds like your trip is going well! Hope the fun continues :-)