28 September 2012

Much excitement at Hill Top...

The first of the fire crews to arrive at the top farm yard
On Wednesday night this week, the peace and calm which usually takes over at Hill Top when we've all gone home, was shattered! Blue flashing lights, 2 fire engines, fire fighters in breathing apparatus going into the House, a ladder up at the bedroom window, our National Trust salvage team standing by.But don't panic! All is well! It was only an exercise - phew!

We had joined with the Coniston and Ambleside Fire Fighters to do an exercise to make sure that we would all know exactly what to do if ever the worst really did happen, and a fire was to break out at Hill Top House.

We took some photos of the exercise as it was happening. They're a bit wobbly because we were more concerned with making sure that everything was being done properly, but they give you an idea of what was happening.

Two of our team leaders had been liaising with the fire crew Managers to set up the exercise - but no one else knew it was a practice run. It was a great way to test out our emergency plans and access routes, as well as getting the adrenalin flowing!

Both Fire engines in the top yard (or should I be saying 'Fire appliances' now?
 Like many of the Hill Top team, most of the fire fighters are volunteers.They were fantastic, and so professional. All worked smoothly, from the Fire engines based in the farm yard to those Fire Fighters in charge of securing the water supply from a hydrant on the main road.

Fire Fighters in breathing apparatus getting ready to go in the House
Our salvage drill worked well too. The Fire crews were up the ladder to the bedroom window rescuing the 'delicate' collection of staff coffee mugs that we'd planted up there to be used for the exercise! Gill and Pete were admirable salvage team members, handling the 'fragile' collection with care, preparing for it to be assessed and to go into store. (I promise that no original Beatrix Potter objects were harmed in the performance of this drill!)

Rescuing the 'fragile' collection
 Last Sunday, we also did a fire drill when the House was full of visitors. You'll be glad to know, I'm sure, that we evacuated the premises safely and in record time.

It was incredibly helpful to do both exercises this week, and important that the fire crews had a practical opportunity to get to know Hill Top. Let's just hope that we never have to deal with anything like this for real.

That was quite enough excitement for this week I think, but I would like to say a huge 'Thank You' to Coniston and Ambleside Fire Fighters. Cheers guys - you were fantastic!

post & photos: Jo and the Hill Top team.