Jo’s Blog: Salamander Day 4

Where does the week go? Day 4 already and what a day it has been. So, we start with breakfast because that’s what our group does best. Never come across a group that enjoys breakfast as much as this group. Mind you Nicky does a fantastic breakfast.

Once breakfast was over it is off downstairs to see what we are doing for the rest of the day. The excitement starts when Mark tells them it’s Westlea for abseiling. Into the mini bus and fire engines for a drive over to see a different fire station, they are all packed in with kit on, Nev is the man with the plan once more making sure everyone gets a ride in the engine on one of the journey’s and then off we go.

As well as the high tower at Westlea there is a great smoke house with tunnels to explore, so there is a lot to pack in, in one morning.

The groups also have a session covering first aid and what to do in given situations. They have pictures of different accidents, cuts, bruises and breakages and they must say who they would call. Would it be 999, 101, Doctor, or parent/carer? They all did well and were keen to answer.

The first team head off with Mark to explore the tunnels and smokehouse. Blue team are kitted up first to go up the tower. I was so impressed with Alicia who flew up the tower and couldn’t wait to go abseil down. What a star, first time ever and she went from the top! Go Alicia! I hope you all saw the live clip on Facebook. Andrew also went from the top and giggled all the way down. Charlie and Nicole came down from the 2nd run. Nicole talked herself into being confident and putting her faith in the ropes!! Very funny to listen too as in one breath said she was scared then in the next “I can do this I’m safe in my harness”. Well done Nicole you were safe and you did it.

It takes a lot of courage to have faith in the firefighters and rope for our young people and not all of them want to go from the top. This is fine with us because the achievement is going over the edge from any level. I wasn’t around for all the drops as pictures need taking of the other groups but I was behind Sam waiting for my turn as he went from the top and I’m sure he may have cracked a smile on the way down! You know it was good when it has taken all their effort to make it up, then they don’t want to do it and when they have done it once, they want to do it again…….next year guys, next year. Most of the young people are now very confident about going from the top. The others look on and clap and shout as each member comes down.

While taking pictures in the entrance to the smokehouse Nicky and I were very privileged to see Father Christmas practicing his decent down chimneys!! Yes it’s true, Nicky has the picture to prove it……….

With everyone completing the abseiling, tunnels, smokehouse and first aid we gather the troops to head back to the station for dinner. Into the garages and kit off, I would say hung up but we are still working on that, and up for lunch.

Again, all the food is eaten and seconds are consumed if they are quick enough. Tables cleaned and back down to the classroom. Now is the moment that suddenly things start to come together as we get ready for tomorrow. They have gained a lot of confidence over the week and they know the routine and where everything is, most of them now understand what is expected of them.

So, tomorrow is Show Day and it has come around so very quickly. They have lots of people coming to watch and they are so keen to show off their skills to family and friends. I can’t really tell you what they have been up to this afternoon as it will be giving the game away. You will need to come along and see for yourself.

Please can I remind you to park in the County Ground and walk across. There is not enough room in the station and the engines will be whizzing around. So, if you don’t want your car to end up like the ones they cut up please don’t park in the station.

Can I also remind everyone to make sure your young person has ALL their belongings when you leave tomorrow, please check their pegs!! It is very busy tomorrow and I won’t have time to check you all have everything.


Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

Night Night