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Sawbridgeworth fire station open day in pictures

Children – and some adults – clambered inside fire engines and a Ferrari, set off police sirens, rescued teddy bears from simulated burning buildings and watched soft toys parachute off a high tower at Sawbridgeworth fire station’s annual open day.

They also felt the heat of a chip pan fire and watched firefighters put it out. Another demonstration saw firefighters cut apart a car with giant hydraulic cutters and spreaders as they would have to in order to free people trapped in a crashed or burning vehicle.

“We want to get the message out: a lot of people don’t know that the fire station is here,” said crew commander Simon Lincoln. “This way we reach a lot more people and a much wider section of the community.”

The open day is a 23-year tradition that on average attracts 800-1,000 people. As well as raising awareness, the barbecue and stalls – selling toys such as fire engines and hats – are fund-raising activities for The Fire Fighters Charity.

The police showed their support by putting a patrol car and police hat at the disposal of visitors, and the Red Cross, which provides emergency support to people affected by fire, had a stall.

“I want my children to learn a little about what to do when there’s a fire,” said Emma Hayzelden, from Little Hallingbury, accompanying daughters Lilly, 12, and Brooke, 11. “What would be the first thing to do? It’s very basic but I don’t teach them that.”

The Station Road facility is an on-call fire station, meaning it is covered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by on-call, part-time firefighters only.

Currently the crew has 11 members – including Lilly and Brooke’s uncle Lewis – on call for 90 hours a week in addition to their full-time jobs.

The crew includes fitness instructors, carpenters and mechanics, all of whom must be able to report for duty at the fire station within four minutes of getting a call.

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