Fire chief praises crews' work in Folkestone

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Fire chief praises crews' work in Folkestone

Posted: 30/04/2007 16:53:41

As the clean-up operation continues in Folkestone today, Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer has praised staff for their response to the earthquake.

Four height vehicles and four appliances have been used today in the multi-agency operation which is being co-ordinated by building control officers from Shepway District Council.

KFRS’s role is to help protect public safety by dealing with dangerous structures including chimneys, loose bricks and tiles.

Crews have been working at the scene since the earthquake struck shortly after 8am on Saturday. At the height of the incident, more than 100 firefighters and 25 appliances along with a number of specialist vehicles were sent to the area.

Chief Fire Officer Charlie Hendry believes staff across the organisation deserve praise for the way they responded to this extremely unusual incident. He said: “Our Control Room operators took more than 400 calls on that first day which is almost seven times more than average and they were extremely professional as they dealt with some very anxious and upset members of the public.
“Meanwhile, our firefighters - from both wholetime and retained stations - also demonstrated a high level of service by being at the scene within minutes of the first call and they subsequently dealt with a range of emergency calls across the town.”

KFRS’s Urban Search and Rescue team was sent to the scene and helped initially to search buildings. This is one of the UK’s first fully operational units able to respond to a range of major and catastrophic incidents, including terrorist attacks and natural disasters. The team carries various pieces of equipment, from heavy duty cutters and spreaders to a four-wheel drive forklift vehicle.

Mr Hendry continued: “Although we can never fully prepare for an earthquake or truly predict its effects, our firefighters train hard to respond to all manner of different incidents and I’d like to praise all those who have been involved over the weekend – and continue to be involved in the ongoing clean-up.”

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