Fire crews practice at the old Kippax Building (previously the site of the old Market Hall).
On Monday evening, two appliances plus crews from Lancashire Fire & Rescue were involved in multiple training exercises at the old Kippax building on Dockray St., Colne. The fire crews practised for several hours, including resource deployment, equipment use and access to areas of zero visibility. They even used thermal imaging for search & recovery drills in complete darkness.
Of course, the site of the old Kippax building has some history with the fire service. In 1935, a fire completely destroyed the old Market Hall. (Photo’s of the devastation are contained within the article: ‘Colne – A Market Town’).
Many will already know that the old Kippax building is will soon be transformed (subject to planning approval) and brought back into use as Earnie’s. Paul & Clare Earnshaw, are the driving force behind Earnie’s and they both want the building and facilities to be used by the community. “It’s not all about business (Earnie’s). I want to put something back into the community too.” said Paul. As such, he offered Lancashire Fire & Rescue free access to train. Of course, it’s not often that our fire crews are given access to such a useful training site …. they wasted no time and immediately brought two appliances on Monday evening (their training night).
Before the crews left, Richard (the Incident Manager for the day) said that they would probably expand the training further and perhaps bring more appliances for larger scale drills.It’s great to see our local Fire Service being given something back … these folk aren’t just our fire crews … they are an integral part of community life. We see them at pretty much every major event, including leading the Colne Gala, Trawden Shows, multiple school visits and always helping with charity fundraisers. We’ve even seen them putting up a 15m+ ‘poppy wreath’ on behalf of St. Michael’s Church in Foulridge prior to Remembrance Day. Add on the youth engagement programmes and, well, you get an idea of just how important they are to the community.
From our point of view, we always will push the boat to help out for our emergencies services. But we had a little fun trying to capture this, as the training was being conducted at night, in confined areas and in extremely dark conditions. That doesn’t really work for us photographers as we don’t want to get in the way, have multiple camera issues in the dark and, when a flash fires, the reflective high-vis jackets & equipment plays havoc with the camera. Even a bounced flash has no real positive effect. Some of the equipment (perhaps the thermal imaging gear?) used by the crews goes mental when exposed to a camera flash!
Note for the fire crews … surely this article means *someone* has to buy everyone cakes? Don’t forget our invite! 😉