Look inside new ‘21st century’ Dagenham fire station

PUBLISHED: 13:00 10 February 2016 | UPDATED: 13:32 10 February 2016

Blue Watch at Dagenham's new fire station

Blue Watch at Dagenham's new fire station


It boasts a gym, rooftop garden and community room for hire. No, not a new leisure centre, but Dagenham’s new state-of-the-art fire station.

Firefighter Paul Humphrey descends the poleFirefighter Paul Humphrey descends the pole

After 14 months strewn across Barking, Harold Hill and Romford, the White, Blue, Red and Green watches returned to their greatly-improved base in Rainham Road North at the end of last month.

The previous station – built in 1938 – was closed for demolition in November 2014 to make way for the new three-storey building and six-storey drill tower, which comes with an advanced mobilising communication system.

Home to the station’s two pump engines and aerial response unit, plus 61 members of staff, borough commander Steve Norman, 48, believes the building will enable the brigade to better serve the area.

“It’s a fantastic station, we’re really lucky to have it,” he said.

Dagenham fire stationDagenham fire station

“These are facilities fit for the 21st century and enables us to be much more community-focused.

“The new mobilising system will help us better our response times but we’re also focusing more on fire prevention which in turn improves speeds for fire reaction.

“Things like installing working fire alarms and making sure people know what to do in case of a fire can be the difference between getting our firefighters in and out of a fire safely or not.”

The new station features dedicated meeting and lecture rooms, quiet study rooms and offices plus an expanded and upgraded kitchen – one of the most important rooms in the building.

Different watches do different things, with firefighters paying between £45 and £70 a week for food, depending on the preferences of the four mess managers – “one of most important roles in the station”, according to Mr Norman.

And Blue Watch firefighter Paul Humphrey, 33, insists the nature of the job means replenishing energy is a key part of the day.

“Each watch will do something different, but we’ll usually have breakfast together,” he explained. “A cup of tea and some toast or something.

“Lunchtime could be anything really – a roast, spaghetti bolognese.

“Some watches will have another meal as well later in the day as well, but we don’t tend to do that.”

The station also has its very own community room, complete with kitchen facilities and internet access, available for groups to hire out alongside dedicated areas for the Brigade’s LIFE (Local Intervention Local Intervention Fire Education) and fire cadet courses.

Separate male and female showers, changing rooms and resting areas make sure the teams can unwind from or prepare for their shifts, while a third-floor balcony and patio area, overlooking Central Park, could be a perfect barbecue spot in the summer.

The new and improved gym – a common feature of most stations – is also key for keeping the firefighters at their peak fitness and is packed with free weights, treadmills, a Smith machine, rowing machine cycling machines plus mats and balls.

“A lot of people come in early to work out to just get it done so they won’t get interrupted,” added Paul. “I train with another member of the watch, but other watches sometimes come in a have a session together, perhaps put on a video and do some circuits.”

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