Strikes former bowling alley in Ely is used for fire fighter training
PUBLISHED: 17:27 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:31 28 March 2018
Firefighters have been bowled over by working in a training venue with a difference in Ely.
The empty Strikes building next to Tesco in the city has been disused for many months while it awaits refurbishment to be used for the county’s archives.
In the meantime firefighters have permission from Cambridgeshire County Council to use the building for training exercises to practice essential skills like wearing breathing apparatus, building search and following guide ropes.
Firefighter Chris Parker, who made contact with the council to secure the venue for training, said: �”Regular training is an essential part of our role.
“It�’s great to be able to use real buildings as opposed to our own training facilities on stations which can become very familiar.
“�This building has been fantastic. It has so many components, there are obstacles, many different rooms, different risks and a brilliant soft play area where we’�ve tested searching for casualties in confined spaces and narrow walkways.”�
Paul Oliver, Ely Station commander added: �The crews have gained so much from having the loan of this venue and we are incredibly grateful to the county council for allowing us to have that opportunity.”�
Richard Panter, facilities contracts manager at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: �”We were more than happy for the fire service to make use of the building before it is refurbished and becomes the Cambridgeshire Archives.
“�We understand the importance of training for firefighters and were delighted we could help add a different dimension to their normal training.
“We were also pleased to be invited along to the exercise and see first-hand how the building has been utilised by crews and learn more about the tactics they use.�”
The training ended in a large exercise involving crews from Ely, Littleport and Soham. The scenario was a fire in the kitchen and seven missing casualties.
The new home for Cambridgeshire Archives should be open for visitors in 2019 and was chosen after an inspection by the National Archives found that the current archives in the basement of Shire Hall was not fit for purpose.
Plans for the site include an enhanced digitisation suite, so more documents are available online.
Archive staff and volunteers are systematically cleaning and repackaging thousands of historic documents ready for the move.
• The fire service is always looking for new venues where firefighters can train. If you can help contact the fire service at www.cambsfire.gov.uk.