A fire station is aiming to be at the heart of all the communities it serves by hosting five different faith celebrations.
St Mary’s Fire Station is soon to light up its 23-metre fire tower like a giant candle to celebrate Diwali the Hindu festival of lights.
There will also be a firework display and a frying pan fire demonstration together with traditional food provided from both Sikh and Muslim communities.
This will be held on Wednesday, October 18 at 5.30pm.
The celebration follows a successful Eid al-Fitr event on June 26 which was attended by about 400 people who got the chance to try out hoses, look around fire engines, go on a bouncy castle and enjoy traditional food.
This marks the end of Ramadan - the holy month of fasting. Crews also opened the station to welcome members of the community for Eid al-Adha.
The Southampton Medina Mosque presented the station with a hamper full of tea, chocolate and a plaque inscribed with the Qur’an verse: “And if anyone saves a life, it would be as if they saved all human kind.”
For Vaisakhi in April firefighters joined 10,000 Sikhs on parade through Southampton and took part in the tradition of offering fruit to others. Next year the crews also plan to celebrate this holiday on station.
Watch Manager Tim Harrison, who helped organise the celebrations, said:
“These events are great opportunities to really reach out to residents.
“People of all communities have been extremely welcoming and receptive as well as supporting events celebrating other faiths.
“These have given us the chance to show that our job is not just about fighting fires - being at the heart of the community is what we are all about.
“I am hoping to build on this year's events and work with residents in regards to community safety and recruitment.”
He added the busy station also works to build good relationships with the community through its day-to-day prevention work and the incidents crews are called to.
The station will also be throwing open its doors to mark the Christian holiday of Christmas and hope it will be as big a success as last year.
Plans are also underway to hold events to celebrate the Chinese New Year in February.
The station also has an active role in Southampton Mela and local Pride events.
HFRS Inclusion and Diversity Partner Dalvinder Rai said:
“The team here are very excited to be celebrating religious events with all members of our communities.
“It is a great opportunity for our operational and non-operational staff to engage, and interact, with the people we serve on a daily purpose.
“We are passionate about making HFRS an inclusive place to work for all our colleagues and those who want to join.”
Station Manager Paul Parry said:
“St Mary’s Fire Station is in one of the most multi-cultural areas of Southampton and I am delighted we have such good relationships with members of the community.
“By celebrating and embracing a variety of faiths we hope to build upon this and make everyone feel that we are their fire service.”
St Mary's celebrates festival of lights