A trip to a fire station open house is a dream come for fire truck-loving children, as our roving reporter Elliott and his mum discover when they visit the Tampines Fire Station one Saturday morning.
Have you ever been to a fire station open house in Singapore? If you have not, make a date to do so right now. The kids will have the time of their lives and you’ll be crowned ‘GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) Parent’ — at least until the next toddler tantrum, huh huh.
All the fire stations in Singapore are open to the public for a Fire Station Open House every Saturday from 9am to 11am. When I found out about this, I was really excited because my three-year-old son Elliott is a huge fan of fire trucks.
I rallied other mum friends who, like me, have fire truck-mad sons, and organised a group visit to the Tampines Fire Station (2nd SCDF Division HQ). This station is close to all our homes and guess what? It turned out to be a great choice because this is one of the two largest fire stations in Singapore (Paya Lebar Fire Station is the other one).
Elliott and his friends were terribly excited when they heard that they were going to visit a fire station and get to meet their heroes a.k.a. the firemen. Elliott even woke up at 5am because he was so keyed up about the visit. He spent the few hours before our trip chanting “FIRE STATION, FIRE TRUCK, FIREMAN!” repeatedly. The skies were cloudy and there was slight downpour, but there was no way I could resist that level of excitement. We were going, even though it was 21 degrees Celsius and drizzling.
Arriving at Tampines Fire Station Open House
Upon arrival, the first thing to do is to register at the entrance. You need one Identity Card (per group) to exchange for a pass. The kids start to get really excited as we walk to the waiting area because they can see all the trucks – life sized! – in front of them. Once everyone in the group has arrived, a friendly fireman greets us and brings us to the control room to explain about station operations. The kids are each presented with a fireman’s hat and judging from their smiles, it’s as if all their Christmases and Birthdays have arrived at the same time.
Checking out the Fire Trucks… and More
Next we get to check out the “Fire Bikes”, as the kids call them. When there is a fire, these bikes are the first to be sent out to access the situation. The kids are allowed to sit on the bikes and take photos with two dashing firemen.
Then we are brought to an actual fire truck, yes, the one with the ladders and the hoses. It is huge! The kids get to see all the different equipment and nozzles for the hose in the truck. And then… drumroll… they are allowed to clamber into the cab to look out from the driver’s seat.
Elliott is too small to get up on his own and he’s a little scared because it is so high off the ground. But a fireman comes to his rescue, scooting him off the ground and plopping him onto the seat. The kids also get to examine huge support trucks where other equipment like air tanks and tools are stored. I must say, the firemen are incredibly friendly, kind, and wonderful with the little ones. The kids have stars in their eyes every time they looked at these hunky “kor kors”. To be honest, we mummies are pretty impressed too! I’m pretty sure we’re all thinking, “Can we bring one of you home with us please?” *wink* Just kidding.
The Waterworks Begin
About this time we see a few firemen setting up a hose. Now that would be Elliott’s favourite activity but we go to see the Hazmat truck first. The firemen lay a bright orange Hazmat suit out on the ground. It looks incredibly thick and heavy. How in the world do the they even move when they’re in it, let alone carry equipment? We get to check out the inside of the Hazmat truck, and see the inside of an ambulance.
Just when we think this tour cannot get more awesome, one of the firemen walks up with packs of orange, child-sized raincoats. The kids put on the rain coats then get individual coaching sessions to learn how to operate the fire hose. In case you were wondering, yes, there are different kind of spray techniques.
Elliott, however, has more interest in being the “fire” than a fireman. He spends more time running around under the water, and splashing around. This is hands-down every child’s favourite part of the open house. It takes up the most time because they don’t want to stop playing.
After the ‘Rain’, the Pole
Finally, we get to meet the fireman’s pole. Did you know that the firemen in Singapore have their own style of sliding down the pole? It’s a method that allows them to carry equipment in both hands and still slide down safely. No other country has this pole sliding style. Cool, huh? Naturally, Elliott wants to try it too. Finally, after several tries, he actually manages a bit of a wiggle and a slide with the help of a very nice fireman “kor kor”.
This marks the end of our tour. By now the kids are hungry. Even the great big fire trucks can’t keep their stomachs satisfied, so we say goodbye to the firemen who’ve made our morning so wonderful, and go in search of food. The one thing that everyone of us can agree on is that we simply must do this again!
Tips for visiting Fire Station Open Houses:
• Wear sandals
• Wear shorts
• Bring extra clothes just in case. It can get wet!
• Bring water and snacks for the kids
Fire Station Open House
Walk in and learn more about SCDF, our mission as the life saving force, the roles and functions of fire stations, the job scopes and life in a fire station.
When Every Saturday, 9 am – 11 am
Where Various fire stations in Singapore. Check for their locations here
Note Every fire station in Singapore is different so activities at stations may differ
Group registration (for 10 and more) register online.