A day in the life of blue watch Great Yarmouth

When Blue Watch Yarmouth asked us if we wanted to go and spend a day with them, see what the watch get up to on a day to day basis and catch up with their new recruit from the latest recruitment course, which passed out in May 2019, we jumped at the chance!

We thought you would all like a chance to see what happens when crews aren’t at fires and also when they are!

The day started with daily checks, a morning briefing, important notices and the plan for the day.  This was a great chance for us to catch up with Amy, while she was busy checking equipment.  She’s settled in nicely and is really enjoying putting into practical terms, the stuff she learnt on the 12 week recruitment course.

Amy said ‘’ I am thoroughly enjoying my time as a firefighter, although it presents its challenges and there is a lot to learn even after training school it is extremely enjoyable. Every day is different and it’s great to be out in the community helping people. Blue watch have been very welcoming and really show their enthusiasm to teach me things which are station specific. I am very grateful to have such a supportive watch.’’

Watch Manager Miller said “It is great that Amy has joined Blue Watch here at Great Yarmouth. Although quite nervous to begin with, Amy has settled in well with the other firefighters and has rapidly become one of the team. She has an excellent work ethic and I have no doubt she will become a very skilled and knowledgeable firefighter with a long career ahead of her.

With the briefing for the day done, the crew got ready to begin a combination drill, the drill allowed the Crew & Watch manager to test particular members of staff on skills they needed practice in, but the whole watch also used it as a refresher.  It was already heating up on the drill yard and those ladders aren’t light!  So the crew were constantly reminded to make sure they were taking on enough liquid.  The drill tested pitching the different ladders in a variety of places and using the underground pit to lift and supply water to the pump on the appliance which fed a hose reel jet. This hose reel was used by a breathing apparatus team that entered the training building which was filled with synthetic smoke to practice search procedures in zero visibility for a training dummy.  It brought up a small issue with the pumping of the appliance, which meant it could get checked and reported if necessary before it was needed for real!

After a quick tea break it was back into the yard for ALP (aerial ladder platform) familiarisation for Amy, although Amy isn’t trained in operating the ALP yet, the crew are making sure she is familiar with the controls and procedures. She will be trained for a support crew role. This will enable her to assist in sighting the vehicle correctly, how to use the stretcher it carries, supplying water to the monitor and also walking down the rescue ladder which can be up to 30 metres high.  It was only when the ALP had got to full height that the inevitable happened and we heard that familiar noise, the turnout bell sounded, which is loud enough to be heard over the noise of all the equipment running. (There was an incident and one pump was needed for a small fire in the open.  The crew quickly got themselves ready and out and we were reminded just how skilled the job of driver is as they negotiated a reasonably busy sea front, travelling as quick as they could, but always safely.

On arrival the well-oiled crew quickly extinguished the flames and large smoke plume but spent time meticulously raking the pile to ensure there was no burning embers that would reignite.

Back for a spot of lunch (and everybody was eating very healthily we noticed!) While eating there was a bit of time for catching up with each other, what they’ve been up to, how the families are and dare I say it, what’s been going on, on Love Island!

We were straight back on the pump and off to a walk round visit of a local premises, to ensure the crew and in particular Amy, as the new person, were familiar with the risks posed if there’s a fire at the property – where the hydrants are etc. The Britannia Pier has a horizontal dry riser running alongside the length of the pier. This is similar to what is installed in most high rise buildings. The firefighters can connect a water supply to one end and then connect their hose to any of the outlets along it’s length. This saves running out lots of hose, but it is regularly inspected to ensure it is properly maintained.  Nothing was left to chance and meticulous notes were made by Amy to ensure that our files are up to date and the crew understand what to do if an incident occurs.

At this point the crew were about to undertake some PT (physical training) a run down the sea front, we’re sure they were glad of the ocean breeze as it’d been a hot busy day, we thought we’d leave them to it, as no one wants pics hot and sweaty! 

Such a busy, productive day and with so much of it geared to ensuring their new recruit is constantly training and improving their skills, it was great to see such a skilled and happy crew and to see Amy fitting in so nicely!

We hope to revisit them in a few months, to see how much Amy has progressed, in the mean time enjoy the pics.