Fire stations of the world: Ramsgate’s £8m new fire station in Kent, UK
Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s new £8 million Ramsgate Fire Station officially opened on 5 February 2019 in Kent in the UK. The state-of-the-art building, which includes a dedicated training centre, has been in use since 7 January 2019 after crews moved out of their home of 113 years in Effingham Street. The purpose-built site now houses the whole-time crews and 14 on-call fire fighters, providing an emergency response 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is a base for the British Red Cross, which has a vehicle in the bays, ready to respond to incidents which require the charity’s support. The station also provides space for other agencies, such as police and the ambulance service and boasts a decontamination vehicle for use in chemical incidents.
Inside the building is a far cry from the much smaller Effingham Street property which was once a private home on grounds belonging to Rear Admiral William Fox. The house was converted into a fire station and the town library and Clarendon House girls school were built on the land.
The station, bought by the Ramsgate Corporation, was redesigned for the town’s fire crew and horse drawn manual fire engines and opened in October 1905.
The new station in Newington Road offers a gym, office space, proper equipment storage and, of course, the training centre, which means fire fighters no longer have to travel to Ashford or Maidstone for sessions.
There are also good-sized sleeping quarters, private study areas and a communal room and kitchen.
Station manager Jim Ledger said, “The main benefits are having the latest technology, proper servicing rooms to maintain the equipment and the training area.”
The change in how the service now operates is also huge. Retired fire fighter Dusty Miller, who has worked to compile a full history of Ramsgate’s crews, was in service from 1972-1992. He said, “It was the only job I ever wanted from the age of 4. You used to have cards with the roads on them, route cards, although we mostly memorised them. The new station is unbelievable, like going from a one-bed flat to Windsor Castle!”
Nick Chard, chairman of the Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority Chairman, is officially opening the station and training facility now (at noon). He said, “I am delighted to be officially opening the new Ramsgate fire station that will provide effective emergency cover for the area for generations to come. It’s in a good location for road networks that will help us provide an excellent emergency service for local people.”
“As well as being an operational fire station and training facility for fire fighters across the county, it’s a hub for partnership working with agencies such as Kent Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service, as well as the British Red Cross who we’re happy to share our new premises with.”
Sustainability and community inclusion were incredibly important to the site team on the Ramsgate Fire Station project. From simple things, such as an electric vehicle charging point being available to the public, and installing bat and bird boxes, to engaging with the neighbouring school to deliver talks on site safety and attending careers fairs, the team contributed £6.76 million social value to the local economy.
The Effingham Street building has been bought by Ramsgate Town Council. The authority is consulting on what uses the community would like put in place.
Sources: The Isle of Thanet News, Morgan Sindall Construction