Investment to Highlands and Islands fire-fighters welcomed

HIGHLANDS and Islands Fire and Rescue Service are now ‘being given the investment, training and support’ required said Highlands and Islands MSP Mary Scanlon.

Ms Scanlon recently met with Stewart Edgar, seconded Deputy Chief Fire Officer for the region to discuss the response to a highly critical Audit Commission report.

And following the meeting, the MSP said: “I am confident that Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service are now being given the investment, training and support which has been woefully lacking in recent years.

“I have been given an assurance that the IT system will be fully upgraded in every station by next month and that training courses to support fire-fighters in the job they do are now being undertaken to ensure health and safety and quality standards are met.”

She continued: “The Accounts Commission have done an excellent job in highlighting the weaknesses in training, support and investment in this service and I am delighted to see that front line fire-fighters are now being given the support they need and are being valued for the work they do.

“The input and support from Grampian, Lothian and Borders, and Tayside Fire and Rescue are all helping to bring the Fire and Rescue service in the Highlands and Islands to the required standards. “I hope that the meeting of the Fire board and the Audit Commission scheduled for April 25th will ensure that elected members on the Board give the Highlands and Islands Fire Rescue Service the support they need to bring this service to the same health and safety standards as elsewhere in Scotland.”

Ms Scanlon added: “I trust that the serving councillors on the Fire Board will ensure that the programme of improvement being pursued by the Fire and Rescue Service will be fully supported now and beyond the Council Elections on May 3rd.”

The move to a single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service next year will help to ensure consistent standards and support for all fire-fighters.