|Taken from the booklet produced in 1985
New Fire Station Opens
History of The Newton Road Fire Station
During 1892, a plot of land was purchased in what is known as Newton Road for £150 (2 acres 10 pole). The Council decided, in 1900, to apply to the local Government Board for sanction to obtain a loan for the provision of a Fire Station and Town Depot at a cost of £3750.
The following is an extract from a local paper dated Friday 18th October 1901, referring to the Fire Station which was then under construction.
The Station was occupied towards the end of 1902.
The equipment at that time, consisted of a horse drawn Manual Pump, a Hose Cart and a Hand Escape. All the hose couplings were of the screw type, and were changed to the instantaneous design with the advent of the Steamer, in 1907.
An 'Electrical Alarm Bell System' was also' installed in the New Station, which enabled all the members to be called by a bell fixed in each house and worked from a hand dynamo generator in the Station.
Even with these new additions it was usually twenty minutes before the Brigade were able to turnout to a call, as there was still the question of the horses.
It was not until 1921, when Mr R F Knight was in command, assisted by Mr W Packwood, that a Motor Tender was obtained, which made it possible for the Brigade to turn out in five minutes.
Owing to the rapid growth of the town, the Urban District Council in 1927 purchased a 250-300 gallon Dennis Motor Pump fitted with a first-aid tank and hose reel.
The constitution of the Rushden Fire Station in 1905 was; a Captain, Second Officer, Third Officer, Secretary and six firemen, all volunteers.
The New Fire Station Washbrook Road
The opening of this Fire Station today is the culmination of over ten years' planning.
This site covering approximately 3 acres was first identified as long ago as 1974.
The Station comprises a three bay appliance room, watch room, lecture room, locker room and hygiene facilities on the ground floor. On the first floor are the Station Commanders' Office, Training Office, kitchen and dining room.
To the rear of the Station is the drill yard with a five storey tower and two storey Breathing Apparatus training complex.
Along one side of the Station there are six houses which will be occupied by some of the Firefighters and Junior Officers who will man the appliances.
The houses were designed and built by the local firm of Marriotts Limited.
Modern technology and communications have provided quite exceptional improvements to the efficiency of the Fire Brigade. Only seconds after a caller has dialled 999 the first life saving appliance can be on its way. A radio message from the fire ground can initiate instant assistance from any, or all, of the twenty one fire Stations in the County.
Computers in Control store information on many different chemicals and this information can be retrieved and transmitted to the fire ground within minutes.
The new Water Tender Ladder is a modern version of the first petrol driven pumping appliances to be used at the old Station in 1927. It is powered by a diesel engine with power take off to the built-in pump, capable of delivering 2250 litres of water per minute. Housed in the centre is a water tank holding 1800 litres.
In the neatly stowed lockers are many additional items of equipment specifically designed to meet the demands of the latter part of the 20th Century:- Chemical protection suits, hydraulic rescue kits, radiation equipment and oxygen resuscitators to name only a few.
Not all the essential equipment can be carried on the pumping appliances and specialist vehicles are required. These are positioned at strategic Stations throughout Northamptonshire. The Brigade Chemical Incident Unit and Canteen Vehicle are stationed at Rushden.
Due to the dangers posed by the many different types of chemicals in use today it is necessary to provide specialised clothing and equipment for the protection of the firefighters. The chemical incident unit carries airlines, clothing and a comprehensive selection of decontamination equipment. It is mobilised to any known chemical incident in the County or on request from the scene of an incident, when chemicals are involved.
The new canteen unit is mobilised to protracted incidents where crews require refreshments whilst still at the scene. This can range from hot drinks for a crew damping down at farm fire, to hot meals and drinks for many crews at major incidents.
Day manning firefighters man the station during the day and at night they provide cover from home, being summoned by means of a pocket alerter.
Should a second pump be required either day or night, then the retained personnel will be summoned, also by means of a pocket alerter.
Fires occur throughout the whole of the day, and on occasions the retained firefighter is called upon during his normal working day.
Several local employers have agreed to release personnel from their jobs to attend fires, a concession which is greatly appreciated by the Fire Authority.
The retained section provides invaluable support to the wholetime establishment in providing Rushden with efficient and reliable fire cover.
Due to the advances in technology since the turn of the century, the firefighter has needed to learn and perfect new skills.
The personnel of Rushden station have to undergo extensive and continued training, not only in firefighting techniques, but also in how to rescue people from road traffic accidents and collapsed buildings, how to deal with chemical and radioactive incidents and many more.
They also have to test and maintain their equipment and the fire hydrants in the station area. They are required to have a knowledge of technical subjects, including building construction, hydraulics, chemistry and fire prevention legislation. Fire prevention inspections account for part of their working day.
The retained firefighter has to attend a series of lectures and practical training sessions before being allowed to man the appliance and ride to fires. Following this initial training, which is given on station,they will be required to attend a course of full time training given by the Brigade training staff and thereafter attend weekly drill sessions and continuation training for the rest of their service.
Advancing technology presents new problems, therefore equipment and training must be commensurate with this trend to ensure an effective firefighting and rescue force.