DFB: In the heat of battle

The Echo’s News Editor William O’Connor travelled with Dublin Fire Brigade in Tallaght and Dolphin’s Barn during their busiest time of the year.

IT’S NOT too often you get to walk around Kilmainham Gaol with Fire Officers alerted to a fire alarm that was set off on a late Saturday evening.

This was just one of the many hundreds of call-outs that Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) received over the past two weeks during Halloween – their busiest time of the year.

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Echo News Editor William O’Connor with Dublin Fire Brigade at Kilmainham Gaol.

The Echo travelled along with D Watch in Dolphin’s Barn and Tallaght the Saturday before Halloween and on Halloween itself to experience the challenges that come with this hectic job.

From putting out bonfires, to rescuing people from rivers, Dublin Fire Brigade come up against the toughest of tasks and carry them out seamlessly and professionally, tasks that many people take for granted.

Every member of the Dublin Fire Brigade is a paramedic – one occasion, on the Crumlin Road, the Fire Brigade truck was waved down for an elderly person experiencing breathing difficulties.

During our trip to Kilmainham Gaol, a smoke alarm went off and, following a search of the main building and cells, we moved onto our next task.

There were many incidents over the past few weeks, with paramedics at one stage approached by a person with a Samurai sword. On a follow-up search, the house was found to have a number of firearms inside.

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DFB ambulance crew was approached by a person with a Samurai sword.

Earlier in the day on Halloween, they were called to Benmadigan Avenue in Drimnagh – youths had built a fire in the middle of the street – due to the fear of a number of elderly residents.

The Garda Public Order unit was called into the area and, following a review of the scene by the Fire Brigade District Officer, a fire truck was called in once the place was safe.

Emergency services dealt with a van on fire in a driveway in the Cherry Orchard area, a lucky escape for the family. Around the same time they handled numerous bonfire calls and domestic house fires in Cherry Orchard and Springfield.

In a bizarre turn of events earlier in the week, Tallaght Fire Station got called to a person caught under a car in an apartment complex. Following quick-thinking by a person walking by, the individual was removed and left the scene – but on a follow-up he was allegedly stealing the catalitic converter.

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Dublin Fire Brigade personnel tackling a two-car blaze in Mac Uilliam estate on Halloween night. The fire also resulted in a damaged lamp post.

On Halloween night, Dublin Fire Brigade had to extinguish fires in two cars in MacUilliam estate, while a lamp-post was damaged in what was a dangerous situation.

The crews also attended bonfires in Tallaght, Clondalkin, Drimnagh and Lucan and in one case a sofa was set on fire in a busy laneway in St Dominic’s Tallaght close to St Mary’s Boxing Club and a crèche.

The District Officer for the area Peter Navan, along with myself, attended numerous bonfires in housing estates to make sure they were safe and no damage could be done to property in the area.

We attended fires in parks beside Weston Hockey Club and Lucan Harriers AC also on Bunting Road.

It must also be highlighted that the local councils were out removing bonfire material stockpiled in the areas and the Dublin Fire Brigade pre-Halloween Safety message also had some affect.

While there are many challenges involved, the Fire Brigade perform their tasks in a thoroughly professional way and their ambulance service is constantly on the go.

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D Watch from Dolphins Barn carrying out an inspection after a smoke alarm went in Kilmainham Gaol.

Before the Fire Brigade in Bravo District start their shift, a parade is carried out in the station with staff assigned their positions on each fire truck. The Bravo District covers both Tallaght and Dolphin’s Barn stations. Then an inspection of the fire truck is carried out for fuel, equipment and water.

DFB employs approximately 1,000 personnel in six Districts, 12 full-time stations, two part-time stations. They have the advantage of first-response capability 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year from 14 strategic locations across Dublin.

The DFB ambulance service has evolved over the years into a modern Emergency Medical Services system. The DFB fleet of 12 emergency ambulances are each staffed by two paramedics available to respond 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

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