Emergency Services Open Day – Nittedal Brannvesenet

Yesterday all round Norway Fire Stations opened their doors to the public, and we were among the many who went along. We turned up at the Nittedal Brannvesenet along with many others. I would guess at least half the attendees were there with their children. The day consisted of displays, and demonstrations.

We were greeted as we walked from the parking lot with the traditional red Fire Vehicles. As we got nearer and rounded the corner we saw the more recent yellow vehicles now being implemented for all emergency vehicles. Yellow is more visible for more of the day than any other colour, hence it’s choice now for the emergency vehicles.

A part of me thinks I should be mourning the loss of the colours I grew up with, but the common sense of the change is overriding that instinct.

The day was clearly enjoyed most by the children, and next most by those accompanying the children. Nothing like a child to drag you into an ambulance and make you feel comfortable playing acting in there and asking the emergency worker inside questions.

As we arrived there were two clearly popular attractions judging by the lines. The holding and directing a fire-hose, with the assistance of a fireman and the food.

I wandered round a bit and listened to the Red Cross teach folks how to give CPR. They had the CPR dummies people could practice on from baby, through child to adult size. Was interesting hearing something I knew well being told in Norwegian. They were also advertising their services to new immigrants and asking for people to sign up and help those new to the country find their way round the community etc. Thirdly they were asking for folks to donate blood.

The Red Cross took up quite a bit of real estate at the open day with not only the tent where they promoted the three messages but with a trailer packed out with emergency gear for a portable emergency response centre and some quad bikes which looked like they were for pulling the trailer.

Firemen gave out hats to every child who wanted one. I managed to knock the hat off one little girl. As she was being walked away by her father, I picked it up and ran and gave it to her and was rewarded with a big smile. Latter her little sister lost her hat too as I was walking towards them so I was able to give her her hat back as well.

The hats seemed to be a popular item with kids prizing them. They said on the front “Home Fire Chief” in Norwegian of course. And the brim had flames drawn on one side.

There were a number of displays. One that interested me was a table full of things that had caused fires and were now blackened or melted lumps. Each table had a table number attached to it and a multi choice question. I think the questions were for the kids and they could win prizes, maybe the reflective stickers I saw some kids with?

Strangely not everything the kids loved about the day were safety or emergency related. Just up the path from the fire-station was a field of horses. Parents and children went to visit and feed the horses grass. There were some pretty horses there, one was my dream horse when I was a teen.

Then came the fire  demonstrations and everyone’s interest peaked up.

We were all herded to the right of the fire engines and behind a line made by plastic tape strung between two poles. Obviously what they use a scenes like crime scene tape police use.  A fireman talked to us explaining each demonstration.

First was a water blaster that was aimed at a free standing door. The water knocked over the door and it’s stand like was a house of cards. They then braced the door and the water punched out all the windows quick as a wink. Then they aimed the water at the wood of the door and punched holes clean through it.

Just to show what it really could do they then aimed the water at a cinder block and after a short while the water blasted it’s way through that and was coming out the other side of the block. Impressive. Jarle says it’s also cool to watch when they aim it at shipping containers as it just decimates the fire inside them. The water punches the hole through then douses the fire rapidly.

Then there was a pot with cooking oil in it on a camping gas stove. They wrapped the pot and stove in tin foil and the first double layer wrap burned through so they added another double layer. I presume that this was to raise the temperature of the oil enough for it to catch on fire.

Eventually the oil in the pot (sunflower oil I think) caught fire and they lifted the lid off the pot and the flames were licking the edge of the pot. Then with a water bottle on a long, long pole a fireman showed what happens when you try put an oil fire out with water. He tipped the water on the flames and they bloomed up to 10 or 12 times as big as before. Which could have been dangerous if you were inside and there were curtains anywhere near the stove, or worse your extractor fan has fat in it and that catches and burns in the ventilation shaft. Was quite spectacular, but I am sure the fireman was happy to be at poles length from that burst of flames.

The demonstrations were over. Many folks went inside to the Trygg og Sikker stand to buy smoke detectors and 110 hand held extinguishers and a saw quite a few of their bags in peoples hands as I walked around.

The last batches of kids went through the ambulances, fire trucks and patted the police dog. They asked their questions and were shown by emergency officers how things work. The last pølse (sausage most like NZ frankfurter) and waffles were purchased and eaten and before you knew it everyone was gone.

The stall were all packed up the fire trucks bought back inside and then there was one last “demonstration” more a test by those there with a square metal pan filled with some flammable fluid and set alight by a burning rag on the end of a long metal pole.

Then the  interesting open day was all over.