One of the best things about having kids is that we're given the green light to play tourists and discover Singapore. And one of our best discoveries must be the local fire station.
Time required: 60-90 minutes
Bring: an extra set of clothes, especially for the kids
I simply love visits to the fire station. We can read all we want about firefighters but nothing beats actually being in a fire station and coming up close and personal to fire engines.
My 2-year old really loves fire engines. And fire hydrants. My 6-year old though, is pretty nonchalent about them. So one Saturday morning, the little one and I headed to Alexandra Fire Station for our dose of red.
Speaking of fire engines, their doors are left open so that you, yes you, can climb on in and have a feel on what it's like to be in the hot seat. Pun intended.
All fire stations in Singapore (except the one on Jurong Island) throw open their doors to the public every Saturday between 9 and 11am. We've been to the one at Alexandra Fire Station as well as Central Fire Station a couple of times, and enjoyed both thoroughly. The good thing about Central Fire Station is that it's got the Civil Defense Gallery next to it, so you can pop by for a (yes, free!) visit after you're done with the fire station. And because they're so used to handling big crowds, every tour is handled smoothly, almost like clockwork. On the flip side though, it's usually extremely crowded.
The one at Alexandra though, and I suspect it's probably the same at all other smaller fire stations around the island, is that it gets considerably fewer visitors, which means that you can take your time and roam around and ask questions without feeling rushed. There usually also isn't one appointed person in charge, rather, visitors are grouped together and ushered around by several firefighters who will gladly answer any questions you might have. Of course, you're welcome to break free from the group too.
How long do firefighters have to respond to an emergency? One minute. One. Not two, not five, not ten. One. They have a couple of shortcuts that help them achieve that goal though - the fire pole for instance. It takes them from whatever storey they're on right down to the ground floor in a matter of seconds. And then they step into their boots (with pants already rolled around them) and dash to their vehicles to put on the rest of their protective gear. Getting dressed in a hurry is always stressful to me. I can't imagine how it must be to get dressed in a hurry with my heart thumping with an adrenelin rush.
Visitors can have a taste of fire-fighting as well and have a go at the powerful water hoses. And of course, once that segment is over, there will be lots of water everywhere, which is likely to draw the attention of any curious little person. So that's where the set of extra clothes will come in handy.
Little kids get handed cute little plastic helmets and you bet yours is going to hold on to his the entire morning. Until of course, he finds something more interesting to do with it.
More fun for free ideas here! Till next week on Fun for Free Friday! Got a fun for free place to share? Link up with me here!