A major refurbishment of Stornoway Fire Station and construction of a training unit at Stornoway Airport is due to get underway in a £3.5million plan.
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Director of Strategic Planning, Performance and Communications, Robert Scott, has said that planned investment in the region of £3.5million in the Western Isles is another example of the national service’s commitment to equitable access to resources across Scotland.
Assistant Chief Officer Scott was in Stornoway this week to engage with members of the council and staff in advance of production of the services Strategic Plan for 2016/19. During the visit Mr Scott took the opportunity to outline the future investment plans to members of the Environment and Protective Services Committee at Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar.
This significant investment in fire and rescue services in the Western Isles will see a major refurbishment to Stornoway community fire station and the building of a carbonaceous fire training unit at Stornoway Airport.
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has entered into a partnership with Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd, whose own fire and rescue personnel will also be able to utilise the training centre there which will allow closer collaborative working with their colleagues at retained stations across the Western Isles.
The new training centre, which will provide Western Isles fire personnel with facilities similar to those opened earlier this year at Dundee Airport, is expected to be completed and ready by the end of the year.
The training facility will include three compartment fire behaviour training units (window box, attack & demonstrator), a two-storey breathing apparatus search training facility (with stairs and railings), a welfare de-briefing/classroom unit with BA maintenance capability and a wood storage facility.
The significance of this investment will be that it will negate the need for retained fire crews to leave the island for training, which will in turn benefit local employers who will not lose staff for lengthy periods of time due to training commitments.
Stornoway fire station is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016. Works include refurbishment of the existing facility and the inclusion of an extension to accommodate additional training support and district office accommodation.
This is the third such investment in training facilities in the north and following a unit at Dundee and the completion of another in Sumburgh. All these works will be followed by similar investments in training facilities in Kirkwall and Inverness between now and 2018.
ACO Robert Scott said: “This latest investment is more good news for the north service delivery area and is another example of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s commitment to providing equitable access to services across Scotland.
“These strategically placed training facilities will reduce the need for our staff to travel unnecessarily and present the service with significant savings in the future. We are working with tighter budgets every year and projects such as these demonstrate the service’s commitment to making those savings and delivering best value to our communities.”
Chair of the Environment and Protective Services Committee at Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, Norman MacLeod, said: “This is very good news for Stornoway and the Western Isles.
“It will support our staff and employers who employ retained firefighters and reduce the impact on their full time jobs when they are required to go for training. We have received tremendous support from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and look forward to the commencement of the works.”