Barrhead Community Fire Station has celebrated reaching 50 years serving the people of East Renfrewshire and other communities throughout Greater Glasgow. A vintage fire engine appeared in the station’s appliance bay as firefighters past and present gathered with invited guests to mark the milestone on Wednesday 29 October.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service local senior officer for East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire and Inverclyde – Area Manager Paul Tanzilli – welcomed guests including Lauren Cosgrove, whose charity Lauren’s Lifelines is supported by Barrhead’s crews.
As a baby the St John’s Primary School pupil developed short bowel syndrome (SBS), which leaves people unable to absorb enough water, vitamins and other nutrients. The eight-year-old started her charity to help others with the condition.
Area Manager Tanzilli said: “The fiftieth anniversary is a proud moment for everyone connected to Barrhead, which is very much a community fire station. Throughout the decades the people of this area have always given incredible support to their firefighters and our crews serving here today continue to enjoy that backing. Helping good causes and giving something back has always been part of fire service culture and of course the station’s current crews have put their weight behind a charity started by a very special local girl.
“Lauren’s Lifelines raises awareness and funds for children affected by short bowel syndrome and in May three of the firefighters spent a day in Lauren Cosgrove’s shoes to help that charity. For 24-hours they wore backpacks weighing a fifth of their bodyweight – replicating the challenge this inspiring eight-year-old overcomes everyday as she carries the medical equipment she needs. I’m delighted Lauren has joined us to unveil a plaque commemorating Barrhead Community Fire Station’s five decades at the heart of its community.”
Since the station first opened its doors in 1964 developments in technology, training and science have all transformed the role of the firefighter, but protecting the public remains at the heart of everything crews do.
Station Manager John Divers said: “Just like their predecessors firefighters today are always ready to respond to emergencies and do everything they can to save lives. Skill, dedication and courage have always defined the role and these qualities are vital when our crews are called to fires, road traffic collisions and the wide range of other emergencies faced by the modern fire and rescue service. There have obviously been huge leaps in the technology since 1964. Things like modern breathing apparatus and protective materials mean firefighters can now operate in conditions and environments that would have been impossible for previous generations. Our work today isn’t just about responding to emergencies though, it’s also about preventing them from happening in the first place.
“Barrhead’s crews regularly go out into the community to raise awareness of common factors behind many fires, which is vital to keeping people safe. Whether it’s delivering a talk in East Renfrewshire schools or helping an older person feel safe by conducting a free home fire safety visit, our crews are constantly working to protect the area from tragedy.”
As part of the ceremony marking the station’s 50th anniversary SFRS chaplains Reverend Gordon Armstrong and Father Jim Thomson gave thanks for the bravery and commitment of the station’s firefighters past, present and future.
Area Manager Tanzilli added: “The fire service is very close-knit and heritage is certainly something that many firefighters are aware of as they go through their careers. Since 1964 there have been countless people serving at Barrhead Fire Station and there will have been many different personalities but what they all have in common is that they willingly took on a job they knew could be extremely dangerous. That desire to serve their fellow citizens and protect their communities is something intrinsic to the service and that’s why it’s important we mark occasions such as this. I would like to thank the people of Barrhead and East Renfrewshire for their support and ask everyone to help us protect the area by considering if they know someone who could be at risk from fire. If so then we want them to put the person in touch with us so our crews can help them stay safe and confident in their homes.”
More information about Lauren’s Lifeines, which is supported by the Yorkhill Children’s Charity, is available at www.yorkhill.org/news/laurens-life-lines
Anyone interested in donating to Lauren’s Lifelines can do so online through the Virgin Money Giving website: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/laurencosgrove