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The first open day

11th NOVEMBER 1982


This is what the brigade determined as an Open Day. Opening up the fire station to allow the members of public to see what their local firemen get up to and at the same time sell them the Fire Safety message. All following Open Days were the ideas of Ammanford station personnel.

Fire engines fascinate most young boys, and these two lads were just a few of those who had the intricacies of a water tender explained to them when

Ammanford Fire Station held an Open Day to round off Fire Safety Week. With Robert Matthews and Ifan Hughs are Firemen John Collins and Christopher Morris, and Leading Fireman Ryland Matthews.

My biggest disappointment on visiting Ammanford Fire Station for its Open Day was the absence of a “firemen's pole.”

Just mention fire station to me and I get a vivid picture of firemen slithering down a pole and dashing to the engine to answer an emergency call, but at Ammanford this was a “pipe-dream,” because the building is a single-storey one.

The Open Day was organised to publicise the national Fire Safety Week and the public had a chance to view the sophisticated equipment when fighting blazes and toxic hazards.

“Fire costs lives” was the slogan used to try and hammer home to the public the need for safety at home and at work.

“By giving an Open Day at the station we hope we will be able to advise people what action to take if a fire does start,” said Station Officer Andrew Trimmer who is based at Carmarthen. “We also point out that fires cause many deaths and we hope that the advice we give may be able to prevent fires and possibly save lives.”

I discovered that the siren is going to be replaced by the new “multi-tone system”


“The new system will come into operation in a few weeks time,” explained Sub Officer Philip Withers. “At the moment we still have a siren but it is used only in emergency situation. The multi tone system is more modern and operates on radio waves instead of by direct telephone, like the siren.”

It is generally supposed that blankets are use to catch people trapped in blazing buildings, but although this is a practice often shown on films it is not one used in real life.

Firemen actually use a long rope with two harness attached to the end.

“This enables us to bring people down to the ground in an easier and safer way. It needs about 10 men to hold a blanket,” explained Mr. Withers.

The Open Day coincided with school half-term and when I arrived there shortly before lunch the place was swarming with children.


The boys, especially, were intrigued with the shiny red fire engine and its accessories and eagerly accepted invitations to sit inside and sound the alarm and flashing lights. They asked endless questions about the work of a fireman and of rescues they had been involved in.

Fire engines – or water tenders as they are properly called – carry 400 gallons of water but also have pumps which can extract water from streams or rivers if more is needed, which is often the case. They have special equipment to release victims trapped in motoring accidents, breathing equipment to enter smoke-filled buildings and special kits to deal with chemical hazards. In fact, they are equipped for all emergency situations.

A fireman's life is not taken up solely with fire-fighting and much of their work is fire prevention. They regularly visit factories, schools, public meeting places and homes t check them for safety and also have training periods each day. They firmly believe in the motto “Prevention is better than cure.”

Ammanford people are fortunate in having a station which is manned day and night by full-time firemen and a back-up team is always available in the form of part-time firemen.

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