Rye Fire & Rescue
Rye Fire & Rescue vehicle, with lights flashing and siren blasting answers yet another call.
Rye firefighters have always had the reputation of being one of the best units in Sussex and Kent despite the fact that they are all part timers doing other jobs and only make a dash for the fire station when their bleepers sound.
The first appliance is under way just a couple of minutes after the alarm is sounded and can be at any address in Rye within five minutes.
The recent suicide bombs in London highlighted the essential role that firemen do in rescue. It is they who arrive on the scene first and get the dead and injured out of the twisted wreckage. They cut ways in to allow the ambulance service get to trapped victims.
Rye firefighters do the same job at road accidents and are also called when fire or accident happens on the river. There have been several cases of people falling in the river at The Strand and Fishmarket when the tide is out and sticking in the mud. Firemen effect the rescue almost every time.
Flooding is another unwelcome occurance that does happen in the town from time to time, it is the Fire Service that come to the rescue again, pumping out cellars and moving surplus water away before it causes further problems.
Rye firemen also play a big part in the social life of the town, getting involved with many charity efforts and are famously known for chairing Rye Fawkes from the Rye Lodge to the bonfire on the famous ‘sedan’ chair.
They invariably win their annual cricket matches against the Police and the Rugby Club, and when it comes to fancy dress they have always created a sensation. Long ago, before many of the present firemen were even born, there was a famous Christmas Party held jointly with the staff of Woolworths and the firemen did an amazing adaptation of “Swan Lake” dressed for the part in white ballet dresses and shoes. “Rye’s Own” has recently discovered a copy of a film of the occasion and efforts are being made to transcribe it onto DVD.
Even earlier than the “Swan Lake” episode Rye Firemen were very active in town events and at a Carnival in 1947 they set up a large canvas tank of water on the Cricket Salts and were pouncing on good looking girls in the crowd and carrying them off for a quick dip. They diddn’t seem to mind too much but the event got a bit out of hand when a gentleman in a pin stripe suit was targeted for a dip. Sorry, this was a bit before “Rye’s Own” came on the scene and we have no pictures. Perhaps someone reading this article might have some.
Rye firemen have looked after this town for more than 100 years and Rye Fire Chief Andy Polley and his men will continue to keep Rye safe whatever the future years may hold.
Rye’s Own September 2005
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