A fascinating and educational day spent with fellow councillors and the Margate Charter Trustees, including the Mayor, at RAF Manston’s Fire Services Central Training Establishment. (MOD FSCTE Manston). It was supposed to have been a competition between Margate and Ramsgate but the latter failed to raise a team, leaving the former to compete among themselves in a day’s training at the fire school – see photos which you can view or download- .
My thanks, with everyone else’s goes to Senior Fire Officer Bob Hyde and his fellow instructors for running the course and the Station Commandant, Wing Cdr. David Lainchbury, who told us of the important work of the training school and indeed, how very, strapped for cash it is thanks to the paucity of the defence budget; almost a picture of despair, where the finances for the upkeep of the station are concerned, with many of its building in a state of visible and crumbling disrepair. A number of its instructors, who should, in theory be running courses here at Manston, are now in Afghanistan and Iraq, so thinly are our armed services stretched.
The Army now owns the site of the Fire School, which is “Tri-service” in colour and it’s hoped that its future is secure beyond 2011. There’s more detailed information on the work of the Fire Services Central Training Establishment here.
You’ll see from the first video - there are three - that we were given a competitive feel for the work of the Fire School; crawling through blacked-out buildings and tunnels and having a try at dousing some serious fires. No Thanet Councillors were injured during the making of this film although several did become a little warm!