Monday, 30 June 2014

Fire Service safeguards future of Eastbourne Pier

Eastbourne Pier users are being warned against the dangers of discarding cigarettes on the town’s attraction, following an incident over the weekend.

Four fire appliances were sent to Eastbourne Pier, in Grand Parade, at 4.59am Sunday morning (29th June) after fire alarms were set off by smoke. A member of staff from the Atlantis nightclub alerted ESFRS who immediately sent a full attendance.

Crews were faced with difficult access to the fire, which was located underneath the decking of the pier, spending time cutting away and damping down to ensure there were no further signs of fire.

The incident was closed at 6.13am with crews returning for a re-inspection at 9.30am.

Borough Commander Dave Sheppard praised the quick-thinking of the staff member who immediately alerted the emergency services to the fire.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service recently carried out a high level training exercise to safeguard the visitor attraction against incidents such as this.

Eastbourne firefighters and neighbouring retained stations responded to a simulated fire on the end of the pier in December last year. Pier staff were also utilised during the training exercise to ensure they knew exactly how to react should there be a fire.

Dave explains why these training exercises are so important:

“Firefighters routinely carry out training exercises to test their response to incidents that can occur, which on this occasion paid dividends as we were immediately alerted to the fire by a member of staff. Eastbourne Pier is a significant part of the Eastbourne experience and as such it is important that we regularly test that our response is both efficient and effective.

“We like to train in as realistic environment as possible so it is very important for us to be able to use premises such as the pier as it will ensure that our firefighters are familiar with the area should an incident occur. We are very grateful to the owners and manager of the Pier who gave us this opportunity.

“Fires on piers are notoriously difficult to extinguish once they get started, as we have seen in other incidents around the UK and locally in East Sussex, so it is very important that we are able to respond as swiftly as possible.

"We would like to urge the public to remain vigilant and not to discard any cigarettes on the pier."

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