A day with the crew at Hitchin Fire Station

PUBLISHED: 12:03 14 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:40 19 October 2017

Firefighter James Deegan helps Hitchin Boys' School pupil Sam Tennant, 15, use cutting tools on a practice car. Picture: Danny Loo

Firefighter James Deegan helps Hitchin Boys' School pupil Sam Tennant, 15, use cutting tools on a practice car. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

This was the scene as a 15-year-old Hitchin lad was entrusted with a hydraulic claw to bust open the door on a Ford Focus.

Comet reporter JP Asher and Hitchin Boys' School pupil Sam Tennant, 15, are shown some of the specialist equipment on the engine by firefighter Adam Jennings. Picture: Danny LooComet reporter JP Asher and Hitchin Boys' School pupil Sam Tennant, 15, are shown some of the specialist equipment on the engine by firefighter Adam Jennings. Picture: Danny Loo

The crew at the town’s fire station had invited Hitchin Boys’ School student Sam Tennant in for the morning, with Comet reporter JP Asher also allowed to tag along.

Sam used the specialist Lukas hydraulic claw to get the door open, and JP used a fierce-looking cutter to remove it at its hinges.

The pair then had a go at laying out fire hoses and rolling them up again, as firefighter Adam Jennings looked on.

Sam and JP were also talked through some of the many things firefighters have to be trained for nowadays, and shown the wide variety of equipment during two hours at the station.

Sam said: “I enjoyed it, it was interesting. The best bit for me was cutting up the cars, and it was my first time doing CPR.”

JP added: “The guys were all really hospitable and patient with us. All this really helps to bring home just how much they do every day to help others.”

Firefighter James Deegan helps Comet reporter JP Asher use a cutting tool to remove a car door. Picture: Danny LooFirefighter James Deegan helps Comet reporter JP Asher use a cutting tool to remove a car door. Picture: Danny Loo

Modern firefighters have access to some impressive kit, with a touch-screen device by the engine’s front seat containing extensive information on hazardous chemicals, vehicle layouts and much more.

But as the team at the Newtons Way fire station explained, the most important tools on a job are often simpler things like the Halligan bar – a versatile forced-entry tool with a claw on one end and a blade and pick at the other.

The amount of gear packed on an engine is extraordinary, with breathing apparatus, ladders and all the rest squeezed into every conceivable nook and cranny.

Comet reporter JP Asher, firefighter James Deegan, Hitchin Boys' School pupil Sam Tennant, 15, and firefighters Adam Jennings and Andy Cropley. Picture: Danny LooComet reporter JP Asher, firefighter James Deegan, Hitchin Boys' School pupil Sam Tennant, 15, and firefighters Adam Jennings and Andy Cropley. Picture: Danny Loo

Hitchin watch commander Mark Burgess told the Comet: “I think it’s important that as a modern fire service working with the community we make people aware of what skills we have and what we’re capable of doing.

“Our skill set has increased and expectations of us have increased as well. We showed Sam and JP some of our kit and we explained how we use them in our job.

“It’s also important to stress to younger people the ‘ripple effect’ of their actions, and make them aware how a simple choice can have a huge impact on so many other people.”

For fire safety advice or to book a home fire safety check, call 0300 123 4046 or have a look online at hertsdirect.org/fire. Always call 999 in an emergency.

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