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Knokke Fire Station.
Fire Engine Photos
No: 26943   Contributor: NEuFa   Year: 2011   Country: Belgium
Knokke Fire Station.

Knokke Fire Station. Belgium
Picture added on 17 February 2011 at 00:14
add commentComments:
This fire station was built in 1967, renovated in 1992 and extended to include the additional four bay ambulance garage in 2002, bringing the total bays up to twenty.

Knokke, with a population of 34, 000, is protected by a Category Z fire brigade, meaning that it has both paid full-time and unpaid volunteer members.

The full time staff number 41, and crew both fire and EMS units. The volunteers are mainly dedicated to firefighting operations.

The fleet is quite varied, which tends to be common in Belgium, as there are no locally based vehicle manufacturers.

The fire fighting and rescue strength includes a Mercedes Atego rescue pump(1800 LPM with 2000 L tank), an Atego pump (2700 LPM with 2000 L tank), a Scania major pump (6000 LPM with a 1000 L class B foam tank), two 30 meter Scania ladder towers, one MAN 8000 L tanker, another Renault 8000 L tanker, a Scania squad truck, a Mercedes Sprinter rescue van, a VW 4X4 minor alarm unit, a VW command van, an Actros pod carrier and a Misubushi crew cab general purpose transport truck.

The EMS fleet comprises three Sprinter ambulances and a Citroen paramedic kombi.

Administrative units include a Ford Mondeo staff car, a Land Rover, a Suzuki SUV and a Renault SUV.

I thought this might be interesting for some of our British friends, when it comes to comparing typical emergency coverage in a medium sized Belgian town to what is prevalent these days in the UK...

Added by Rob Johnson on 27 March 2018.
Redcar N.Yorks similar population 35, 000 now has one Rescue Pump (full time manned ) and one pump ( retained, on call ). However they seem to manage quite well. When I see the amount of kit some mainland Europe stations have I wonder if it is all necessary.

Added by CraigW on 28 March 2018.
Knokke is also a coastal community, with the same implications for limitations on mutual aid as Redcar. But it actually has more additional fire stations than Redcar within the same inland radius to provide timely reinforcements.

I think the differene is more an attitude to public safety and sensible budgetary decision-making than any thing else. These European governments take dealing with a serious incident seriously, and as we have seen on these pages a two pump response just does not provide an adequate response to anything more than a relatively minor incident....

Their "everyday" first response to most calls by the full-time staff is not all that different. The big difference is in the numbers of personnel and the amount and variety of equipment which can be mobilized quickly in the local community when a serious incident occurs.

As I have mentioned in other posts, the universal key to this strategy in every other European country is to employ large numbers of unpaid volunteers, which permits much more funding to be dedicated to equipment and training.

It is also highly likely that total funding for emergency services is often much higher too, although comparisons are very difficult - because costs are so variable between countries and data are often not strictly comparable...

At the end of the day, if I was in a hotel fire at 3 AM, I should prefer to be in the Nelson in Knokke than The Park in Redcar!

Added by Rob Johnson on 29 March 2018.
I agree with Craig W. Well... at least I thought I did. Some of these European stations seem grossly over-equipped to me. And it seems, particularly on YouTube, that when a call comes in, the whole station empties -- engines, vans, tankers, cars, ladder trucks, ambulances, cranes, boats, the works! It always seems like a huge waste of resources and a massive overkill to me, if not just in diesel!

Then I saw another clip on You Tube of a "persons trapped in a lift" call in New York City. (Except they called it an elevator!) Anyway, FDNY's standard response to such a call, apparently, is three engines, two ladder trucks, a squad unit or heavy rescue, sometimes both. Oh and a battalion chief! Really? Somebody tell me that's not overkill.... In the UK all you'll get turning up is a water tender with four or five bods on board. But they seem to get the job done, don't they? I mean, I don't think I've ever read in the newspaper about firefighters finally opening the doors of a trapped lift and finding skeletons sitting there in old-fashioned clothes!!!

But then I read Mr Rob Johnson's final comment about getting your head down at the Hôtel Conflagrácion.... and well.... when you put it like that, Rob, I think I'd have to agree with you!!!

Added by Yelp Bullhorn on 30 March 2018.
Thanks Yelp.

Regarding the FDNY response, its worth bearing in mind that in some areas of the city the elevator may easily have twenty people jammed together in it and be on the sixtieth floor!

Added by Rob Johnson on 03 April 2018.
When we think about how different fire services deal with high rise incidents, I really must also mention the response to the disastrous London Grenfell Tower Fire.

LFB responded to a occupied night time high rise building fire with four pumps and approximately twenty firefighters. No aerial, no rescue, no senior officer.

The first aerial was on scene more than an hour after the first alarm...

In Chicago, or New York, and in most other larger US cities, the standard response response to any high rise incident is pretty much as Yelp says - three or four engines, two or three aerials, a rescue and/or squad, plus often a dedicated high rise unit and usually three chiefs (Interior, safety and tactical). When we had a trash compactor fire in our 44 floor building, we had around forty personnel there in seven minutes on the first response...

What FDNY don't know when people are trapped in an elevator is why. It could be a side effect of another problem, including a fire. And the people in the elevator may include someone with a medical problem. "Know what you don't know" is a good motto for life in general, but especially for the fire service!

As for the Grenfell incident, it is an SOP at high rise fires in many countries for an external line to be immediately positioned to prevent any possible vertical extension, if the fire is within reach of a hand line or an aerial monitor and is venting through a window. This might have saved countless lives, but it appears this was not something the LFB had sufficient resources on site to do.

Added by Rob Johnson on 04 April 2018.
Recent house fire in Marske ( next to Redcar)
at least 12 appliances attended. Saltburn's CARP would pluck Rob from roof of the Park Hotel !

Added by CraigW on 04 April 2018.
In New York City a "3 and 2 response" {3 engines and 2 trucks/ladders} a single unit may be inspecting buildings on Tuesday and Thursday or run into heavy traffic causing a delayed response.

Added by Les Davis on 04 April 2018.
Yes I get that, Rob, but I still don't see how that really makes a difference. Surely a lift rescue is the same if it's on the 1st floor or the 101st floor, and if it contains one person or 21 persons. The lift cradle has to be manually lowered or raised to the nearest floor and then the doors are wound open. Job done. In the UK it's accomplished with four or five firefighters. And in New York with what, thirty-odd? It doesn't add up in my mind. Or am I missing something?

Added by Yelp Bullhorn on 08 April 2018.
Craig, now twelve appliances for a domestic house fire seems an unusually large turnout to me! The exact opposite to my original observation/moan! There's no pleasing some people I guess! Lol. Unless it was a Palace of course!

I imagine the p.d.a. and initial attendance was just the standard two pumps though, and all subsequent attendances were all make-ups, and were necessary due to a lack of water or some other technical issue.

Added by Yelp Bullhorn on 18 April 2018.
I do not dispute that a fire situation may need 12 appliances, because none of us was there to know why. The question is not really are they needed, but if they are, when will they get to the incident? The single Saltburn CARP is around seven miles from Redcar, taking about ten minutes by road - but Knokke's three aerial trucks are all right there in the town.

We do of course all know that in a night time fire in an occupied hotel - and both Redcar and Knokke are beach resort towns - ten minutes can make a real difference...

Added by Rob Johnson on 18 April 2018.
Knokke has two Scania 30 meter ladder towers, not three.

But I should point out that Saltburn's CARP is manned by retainers, while Knokke can turn out one or even both aerials with members of their full time on-duty night shift.

For the Saltburn retained CARP to get to a fire on the front in Redcar at night would probably take at least fifteen and even nearer twenty minutes!

Who are we kidding?

Added by Rob Johnson on 18 April 2018.
Hi folks, me again! Just thought I'd revisit the whole "over-equipped fire departments" discussion once more, if I may. Just indulge me for a minute...

I was looking at random US fire departments the other day (as you do!), and was slightly overwhelmed at, what appeared to me anyway, their significant equipping, and I mused that American citizens must be very lucky indeed. So I did a little research...

I ruled out the mega cities because they are almost as tall as they are wide which explains why somewhere like New York has a fire house every few hundred yards or so. Each downtown firehouse doesn't really have a two dimensional area as such; their areas are cubed! Half-a-mile by half-a-mile by a-quarter-of-a-mile high!

(A bit random, I know) but take Knoxville Fire Department in Tennessee for instance.

The city has a population of 186, 000 in an area of 104 square miles. The city is served by 19 fire stations. They can call upon 15 engines, 3 quints, 5 aerials and one heavy rescue unit, plus many other specialist vehicles. And they respond to around 13, 000 fire calls and 10, 000 medical calls per annum. So I thought I'd do a couple of comparisons.

First I looked at a UK city with a similar population to Knoxville. I found Norwich. Norwich in East Anglia has roughly the same population of Knoxville -186, 000. But is much more densely populated as it is only 20 sq/m in area. Norwich has 3 stations crewing 4 engines and 1 aerial. As Norwich is part of a county fire service other specialist vehicles from outside the city can be called upon as and when required. Between them the three stations respond to around 4, 000 calls per annum within the city, all fire-related and no medical.

So then I looked at a city with a similar geographical area to Knoxville, and I chose the conurbation of Leicester which is 109 sq/m. But as is the norm with UK cities the more densely packed streets are home to just over half-a-million people. They are served by 6 fire stations, with 9 engines, 2 aerials and 1 heavy rescue unit, plus specials. Between them Leicester fire stations turn out to around 8, 000 fire and rescue calls each year.

Personally I find the differences between the US and the UK somewhat startling. I'm not really drawing any conclusions from this, I'm not moaning and I'm not crtiscising either. Just astonished. After all Leicester and Knoxville are the same size geographically, but Leicester has nearly 3-times the population and yet has over 3-times fewer the number of fire stations. And yet, curiously, Knoxville receives more fire calls. Are Americans more careless than us Brits? Or as I suspect, US departments respond to ALL fire calls, unlike British fire services who now almost pick and choose which calls to respond to. To some AFAs, many brigades merely send out an officer in a Ford Focus estate car to take a sneaky peek! If there's a fire, they then call for the proper vehicles to attend. To me, that's disgusting.

Perhaps all this explains why British fire services turnout so promptly compared to our US counterparts, (sorry, but it's true), why our fire engines are so fast (well at least the Dennises were!), and why our drivers have to almost bully their way through the traffic. They simply have to. Bigger station areas, more people, more congested roads and less back-up.

Or is it simply about EMS? Does the mere fact that US departments respond to medical calls explain the massive differences? i.e., they just have to have more stations spread out over their area than we do? Reduced response times, shared workloads, improved efficiency.

Or, as I strongly expect, perhaps it's because UK fire services are funded by central government and, therefore, have to exist on peanuts. Whereas in the US taxes that fund their local fire departments are collected locally. So I'm betting they're being taxed much more than we are. Surely they have to be, in order to fund three-times as many fire houses and pieces of apparatus as we have, through a population three-times smaller. So are US citizens as lucky as I initially thought they were? I don't really know....

Added by Yelp Bullhorn on 12 July 2018.
It is quite complicated and there is no simple answer - I've been wondering about the differences in attitudes to fire protection in different countries since I fist visited a German fire station in 1961!

The local government approach in the US does explain why most cities have far more manpower and equipment than comparable UK places. Historically, many cities were too far away from other fire departments to be able to rely on timely backup, so they had to be ready to handle everything by themselves.

But there is dark side to this too. Rich cities with a good local tax base have loads of money to spend on fire protection, but poor cities often have frankly quite awful fire protection. Water mains and hydrants go out and are not fixed, fire stations are falling apart, trucks are broken down and not properly repaired, the reserve fleet is overtaxed, firefighters have to work unpaid overtime and can still only sometimes muster a two or three man crew on an appliance, there is no training budget and on and on - and these poorer communities have more serious fires because of having older buildings with bad wiring, broken heating, etc - and more EMS runs because of a less affluent population with more health problems of various kinds.

Detroit may not be the worst example, but it is pretty bad. Go on Youtube and check out the DFD videos, and you will get the picture! Its not all wine and roses here....

I recently read that only 5% of calls to US fire departments were to fires - so this may also help explain the much higher number of runs.

Interestingly enough - to me, at least, this is still higher than Paris, which is only 3%.

Added by Rob Johnson on 13 July 2018.
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