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It’s the most wonderful time of the year for most of us - but for many people Christmas can be lonely so our firefighters have been opening up fire stations to the local community.
Crews across London have been getting into the Christmas spirit by holding festive lunches and parties for elderly and vulnerable people who live nearby.
Other firefighters have been fundraising for presents and donations to take to children’s hospitals on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Statistics show that people who are vulnerable and live alone are more at risk of being in a fire, so as well as enjoying festive food cooked by their local crews, these events give firefighters a chance to ensure people are safe in their homes by checking they have fire alarms fitted and an escape plan in place in the event of fire.
Firefighters also used the opportunity to book in Home Fire Safety Visits for many of the guests who attended.
Here are a few examples events which have been taking place:
• Firefighters at Sidcup station put on a party for local elderly residents in partnership with Contact the Elderly. As well as serving the food and chatting to their guests, they even arranged some Home Fire Safety Visits which were carried out the following day.
• A Hillingdon firefighter’s grandmother had the time of her life at the station’s Christmas afternoon tea and carol concert. Margaret Henderson, 94, donned her grandson’s fire gear and enjoyed the party along with dozens of other local elderly people.
• Community Fire Safety’s Christmas elves carried out a collection at Brigade HQ and raised £200 for then Alzheimer’s Society.
• A Christmas get together was held by firefighters at Richmond fire station, with members of Blue Watch cooking dinner for their guests.
• Walthamstow’s Blue Watch has been busy fundraising for Whipps Cross University Hospital Children’s Ward. They used the money to buy toys and make goody bags which will be distributed by firefighters on Boxing Day.
• Crews in Bromley Borough have also been busy, visiting a local school to give out presents and hosting a Christmas dinner for elderly and vulnerable people in partnership with Age UK.
These are just a few examples of the community work firefighters have been undertaking over the last few weeks and many more crews will be spending Christmas Day giving presents to children at hospitals across the city.
London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Stations, Andy Roe, said: “As ever, our firefighters have really brought the Christmas spirit to hundreds of vulnerable older people and children who will be in hospital over the festive period.
“There have been parties, lunches, present drops, carol concerts and many more festive events taking place across London.
“With so many people set to spend time on their own, it’s especially nice to welcome them into our stations and also ensure they are keeping safe from fires in their homes.”