A century for Isles firefighters

Back Row L-R: Ff Ivor Mackinnon, Ff Calum Macdonald, Crew Manager Neil Cameron, Ff Richard MacLennan'Front Row L-R: Area Manager Billy Wilson, Lord Lieutenant Sandy Matheson, Vice Lord Lieutenant Donald Martin, CnES Chief Executive Malcolm Burr

Back Row L-R: Ff Ivor Mackinnon, Ff Calum Macdonald, Crew Manager Neil Cameron, Ff Richard MacLennan'Front Row L-R: Area Manager Billy Wilson, Lord Lieutenant Sandy Matheson, Vice Lord Lieutenant Donald Martin, CnES Chief Executive Malcolm Burr

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One hundred years of lifesaving and fire safety service to Western Isles communities were honoured in Harris recently.

A presentation of Long Service and Good Conduct Medals held in the Harris Hotel on February 7th celebrated the commitment of five island Scottish Fire & Rescue Service Firefighters.

It was the delight of Lord Lieutenant Alexander Matheson OBE to present the medals to Crew Manager Neil Cameron, Bayhead (joined 11.01.1993); Firefighter Calum Macdonald, Bayhead (joined 02.07.1993); Firefighter Ivor Mackinnon, Leverburgh (joined 10.03.1993), and Firefighter Richard MacLennan, Leverburgh (joined 10.01.1994).

Crew Manager James Morrison, Tarbert (joined 10.01.1994) was unable to attend the presentation service, but has also been honoured with a Medal.

The Fire Service Long Service and Good Conduct (LSGC) Medal is awarded to operational fire-fighters as a mark of Her Majesty’s gratitude for length of service and the manner in which it has been undertaken.

Welcoming the medal recipients and their families to the presentation, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service Area Manager Billy Wilson gave particular mention to those who remain at home when their partner responds to the fire pager.

And presenting the awards, the Lord Lieutenant spoke of the gratitude of the communities of the Western Isles for the services provided by those who would put themselves in harm’s way – and not forgetting the work that went on to prevent incidents happening in the first place.

The 14 fire stations across the Western Isles are staffed by many more dedicated and committed men and women; but the Service are constantly on the look out for island men and women who wish to contribute to their communities by becoming firefighters.

Scottish Fire & Rescue Service Western Isles Group Manager, Iain M Macleod, said: “We’re always looking for new recruits though and the advice I’d give to people who are interested is to visit their local station and chat to the staff there first to find out what it’s like.”

Mr Macleod continued: “There is more to a firefighter’s role than fighting fires, home visits are becoming more and more part of that role. It is a big commitment, but in return you are highly trained and get a whole new set of skills – from First Aid to discipline, as well as hands on practical experience.

“There is the physical challenge also and as well as enhancing your own safety skills, you’re working in a team and get the satisfaction of contributing to keeping your community safe.”

He added: “And one thing we must say is that in the Western Isles we have very supportive employers.
“We’re always really grateful to island employers for releasing people at short notice any time the pagers go off.”

If you’d like to find out more about the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, visit your local station or the District Office in Stornoway, or apply directly through www.myjobscotland.gov.uk