Central Fire Station

We love going on field trips and weekends are always filled with outdoor activities. This morning, we decided to introduce our children to the job scope of a firefighter! What better way to learn but through role play experiences in real environments.
I chose the Central Fire Station because it is a national monument and the oldest surviving fire station in Singapore. Did You Know? Completed in 1909, it was nicknamed “blood and bandage” because of its red and white facade. This building marked the the beginning of the modern fire-fighting services and the change from horse-drawn fire-carts to motorised fire-engines. All of 105 years old this year and standing stately on High Street. I don’t know about most people but I let my imagine run wild on historical grounds – imagining how life was back then. This is Central Fire Station now and then:

Extracted from Remember Singapore, the above photograph pictures Hock Lam Street in 1972 with the Central Fire Station in the background. The road was expunged in the early 80s, and was replaced by Funan Digital Mall, whose name Funan is the hanyu pinyin of Hock Lam. I had always told my husband how I love history. If I could go back to the past, I’d like to be a street peddler living in one of these shophouses trying to make ends meet. What an experience it would be *dreams*

Ah back to reality! So I lugged Ewan’s fireman geddup to Central Fire Station and had him dressed up as Fire Chief. It was witty of one firefighter who came up to Ewan with a salute, “Yes Sir!” We were surprised by how friendly these men were. They smiled at everyone, assisted with questions, took photographs for families, carried children up the fire engines and tried to make it educational for everyone that came.

“STOP TALKING MOMMY AND LET’S HEAD IN NOW!”, loudhailed the boy.

I. VEHICLES
We were overwhelmed when we walked into the fire station. There were so many vehicles, all of which the children can climb in and out from! Fire engine, red rhino, emergency ambulance, rescue tender – oh they are all there and gosh which one should we ride on first? I think I was more excited than the boy himself! Looking at the pictures, it does feel like we were at a movie set don’t we? Somewhat Universal Studios look-a-like but hey! This is the real deal! Did You Know? The vehicles are classified into two categories? The fire-fighting vehicles and the rescue vehicles.

II. FIREPOLE
After seeing how Ewan was struggling to climb UP the fire pole, one firefighter came up to us and offered to demonstrate the Singapore-style firepole drop! Tip: Please approach a firefighter and ask to see one Singapore-style firepole drop. It’s incredibly fast and it will WOW your kid away. At least it wow-ed me! Firefighters usually remain above the ground floor of fire stations until they receive a call for help, after which they descend, don their firefighting gear, and board the fire engine as quickly as possible. The fireman’s pole is the fastest way to get to ground level. Did You Know? Until 1878, spiral staircases or sliding chutes were common, but not particularly fast. Fire houses were also equipped with spiral staircases so the horses would not try to climb the stairs into the living quarters.

III. EQUIPMENTS
Fire Hose
The fire hose is a high-pressure hose that carries water to extinguish fire. Well of course there wasn’t any fire on premise but children were given the opportunity to try their hands on putting out fake fire with the help of a fireman. The children were treated to different water pressures and when the strong single jet was changed to a soft flower spray (no idea what the exact term is), the children went “waaaaaaah”. Me included. *hehe* Did You Know? The fire engine has a water tank that can store 2,400 litres of water used for fire-fighting operations and 1,200 litres of foam tank.

Fire Extinguisher
Ewan has a loudhailer and a fire extinguisher on his belt. I was calling out to him from the bottom of the fire engine, “Ewan! You are sitting in a fire engine! Now where’s your fire extinguisher?” Before we know it, a firefighter climbed in after Ewan and dug into the compartments of the fire engine to retrieve a real fire extinguisher for him. I thought that was really attentive and proactive of him. Thank you Mr Fireman!

Ladder
No, we didn’t get to see the tower ladder in action but we caught Ewan climbing the one at the back of the fire engine.

Gears
There is also a table displaying an array of gears needed for a firefighter to don on before heading out to a rescue mission. I took the chance to play dress up with Ewan but boy did I not expect the weight of each gear to be that heavy! Did You Know? The combined weight of the fire-fighting gear and breathing apparatus set can come up to 20 kilo grammes? I kid you not. I could barely keep the helmet on my head for more than 3 minutes. It is extremely heavy and I asked the fireman thrice (in disbelief), “You seriously have to carry all these weight while putting out fire?”.  These men MUST be FIT! Very very fit. 


IV. FIREFIGHTERS

Here are our firefighters. The SCDF men. The people that keep us safe from raging fires. Did You Know? They have to provide rescue and emergency medical services as well; mitigating hazardous materials incidents, as well as formulate, implement and enforce regulations on fire safety and civil defence shelter matters. 

V. INFORMATION
Fire Station Open House Hours: Every Saturday 0900 – 1100 hours.
Admission Fee: Free
List of Fire Stations:

  1. Alexandra Fire Station 
  2. Ang Mo Kio Fire Station 
  3. Bishan Fire Station 
  4. Bukit Batok Fire Station 
  5. Central Fire Station 
  6. Changi Fire Station 
  7. Clementi Fire Station 
  8. Jurong Fire Station 
  9. Paya Lebar Fire Station 
  10. Sengkang Fire Station 
  11. Tuas Fire Station 
  12. Woodlands Fire Station 
  13. Yishun Fire Station 
  14. Tampines Fire Station 

Members of the public, comprising less than 10 persons in a group, are welcomed to walk-in to any SCDF fire stations (except Jurong Island Fire Station) during the said hours of the open house.

I would say it was a fruitful trip. We learnt quite a lot of things from our visit and I hope I wasn’t the only ignorant mother to ask, “Why aren’t you guys wearing red?”

This kind firefighter replied (I hope he wasn’t suppressing a laughter), “Oh our uniforms are blue. Reds are in America.”

Mother: Embarrassed.

By the end of our field trip to the Central Fire Station, our little boy turned koala on daddy’s shoulder. His gears must have been too heavy for him too.

One more Did You Know? We probably were filled into this little fun fact because our boy came in as Fire Chief.

Did You Know? The colonial building that house the current Flutes at The Fort used to be home to the station’s Fire Chief? Aha! Now you do!

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A stay at home mum, blogging to widen her social life. We want to echo the sound of love through our lives to inspire other mothers alike.
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