Intrigued I happened to spot one of their boats on the Canal and was able to visit their fire station. Andreas, a Venetian firefighter who spoke a little English and we a little Italian; showed my wife and I around.
Firefighting has an international language all of its own as he showed a map of their response area and then showed their appliances. They can reach all the main areas of Venice in five minutes. The outer islands can take up to twenty minutes. Each boat is crewed with 6, a driver and 5 firefighters. They carry 4 Drager BA sets and a 4 piece ladder that can span 10 metres. The boats motor drives the boat and is also connected to a pump which can deliver 3,000 litres per minute.
This is the only Station for a population of about 16,000 and the Brigade has 60 professional firefighters on staff. Apparently Berlusconi hasn’t spent any money on new young career staff so the average age is 55 and getting older.
When I downloaded the photos my wife took I got quite a shock at how scary I looked in one of their helmets. Ciao from Italy!
Images by Anne Monagle