Stations to be used as communication emergency hubs

A new agreement has been reached to use Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) stations across the Highlands and Islands as Communication Hubs during emergencies.

Fire stations across Highland, Shetland, Orkney and Western Isles will allow multi-agency partners to set-up bases for the community and responders in these areas, particularly during power and communication outages.

The Highlands and Islands area has faced a number of communications and power outages over past years, generally associated with the weather, but also through technical faults.

In response to these various episodes, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and other responders have been asked to open local stations to provide vital “on the ground” links.

SFRS’s Local Senior Officer for Highland Scott Hay said: “We are delighted to be able to utilise our fire stations in this way and to provide a vital link with our communities during emergency situations.

“We have had discussions with partners such as SSEPD (Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution) and feedback from the Highlands and Islands Local Resilience Partnership Telecommunications Workshop and it was agreed there was scope to make positive use of fire stations and build that into response plans.

The agreement will operate in the Highlands and Islands, under the H&I Response Plan, and provide the option to activate appropriate fire stations within affected communities.

There are 92 Fire Stations of various sizes and capability within the Highland and Island areas.

The concept of using the fire stations during emergencies is not a new one, but this plan aims to make this a routine option.