Following a visit to the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service training facilities in Portlethen earlier today (2 May), Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur has welcomed confirmation that Orkney will be in the vanguard of SFRS’ roll out of new firefighting equipment.
Rapid response vehicles will be equipped to enable firefighters to respond to fires, road traffic accidents and other incidents in ways that enhance firefighter safety and improve the service they are able to provide to the public.
In particular, new cold cutting technology will allow water to be ‘injected’ into burning buildings, reducing the need for firefighters to enter what can be an extremely dangerous environment. This equipment may also allow fire appliances to be sent to incidents with fewer crew members, meaning that retained fire stations in Orkney and other rural parts of the country can remain ‘on the run’ more of the time.
Commenting after the visit, Liam McArthur said:
“The development of this equipment is highly impressive and the benefits it will bring look to be wide-ranging. Not only should it help deliver greater protection for firefighters, but also enable them to provide an even better service to the communities they serve.
“It is particularly encouraging to hear fire chiefs talk about their plans to roll out this new technology in rural and island areas first. This rarely if ever happens and SFRS deserve credit for recognising the positive impact that the equipment can have on these communities.
“I understand that Hoy is to receive one of the first new vehicles, which is very welcome indeed. If it does, as has been suggested, allow firefighters to safely attend certain incidents with fewer crew members, this could help keep retained stations ‘on the run’ more of the time. As a consequence, the service can offer a greater degree of reassurance to local communities in places like Orkney”.