All the (old) gear and no idea (what to do with it)!

Peterborough Volunteer Fire Department

Sam caught up with the local volunteer fire department to find out why they would like your old kit (and donations and time)...


The time has come to replace your old kit. You’ve either crashed in it, grown out of it (COVID and Christmas have been cruel to my waistline) or it’s so old it’s no longer safe. Now begs the question, what to do with it?

Old gear can’t be given away or donated to a charity shop, but the local recycling centre doesn’t accept leather. Instead of sending it to a landfill, I contacted Peterborough Volunteer Fire Department to see if they wanted it for drills.


Why kit?


Fire departments use old kit to practice drills. Fire departments are called out to all manner of accidents and they need to practice ways to cut us out of our kit. It’s an aspect of riding that none of us wants to think about, but we do. If the worst should happen, it’s likely to be your local fire station who will be cutting you out of your kit.


What do they want?

Clothing, leathers, sets, helmets, jackets, armour, gloves… and old bikes, if you’re feeling generous. They could also do with cash and volunteers.


Why cash?

Because your volunteer fire station is exactly that, voluntary. The Peterborough Volunteer Fire Department has been running since 1884 and is part of 28 fire stations in Cambridgeshire Rescue Service, so they’re an on-call fire station, no different to any other fire station, apart from a small payment to be on call.

They do the same training, have the same equipment and the same calls, which was about 300 in 2021 alone. Although the training, the uniform and the fire engine and the calls are provided by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, they still need to cover the upkeep of the station, utilities, etc.


Jake Benton, David Carrington, Sam (Visordown), Anthony Gould, Kev Duke

What if I want to be a firefighter?

Do you think you’ve got what it takes? Then drop your local volunteer station a line and if you’re suitable then you will be put through the selection process. There's a fitness test, medical tests, and then a 16-week course: evenings, weekends and two full weeks of training. Once finished you return as a probationary firefighter for two years, after you’re on the pump and running into fires like the best of them.

Like motorcycling, this is a passion and a calling. “People do it because they like doing it” Anthony Gould. At Peterborough Volunteer Fire Department some volunteers had been serving for 4 years, 5 years, 10 years and 39 years!

You don’t even have to give you up your day job (sorry). One person lays carpet, another owns his own business, and one works for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue in a different capacity


Photo by Yulia Matvienko on Unsplash

This is the closest thing to a superhero that this world has. When the alert sounds they’re running to change into uniform. Unfortunately (or fortunately), not in a phone box. “When we go help people, that's a great feeling.”

And no, they haven’t rescued a cat from a tree.


Get involved

If you have a wedding or your child’s prom coming up, then you can hire Peterborough Volunteer Fire Department’s vintage fire engine. A V10 Rolls Royce engine, all for a small donation. Contact your local department to see whether they offer the same.

Donate money to Peterborough Volunteer Fire Department through their JustGiving page.

To donate gear Peterborough Volunteer Fire Department, or to hire an engine for an event,  just email them or DM their Instagram and Facebook.