Caption: (left-right): David Garbutt, Chairman, Scottish Ambulance Service; Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House and, David Goodhew, Assistant Chief Officer, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
The first tri-emergency service station in Scotland has opened in Tomintoul, strengthening links with the local community.
It has been built as an extension to the Tomintoul Fire Station and it is anticipated that the centre will help all three emergency services to work more effectively together.
The new facility will provide a base for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), Police Scotland and Scottish Ambulance Service to operate from with facilities for all.
Chief Officer Alasdair Hay, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Scotland's emergency services have a long and proud tradition of working together, frequently responding in unison to rescue and care for people in their time of need but also working collaboratively to find new ways of preventing accidents and emergencies from occurring in the first place.
"This shared facility at Tomintoul will ensure that fire, police and ambulance can build on their partnership approach to ensuring that local communities continue to receive excellent levels of service from their emergency responders and that best practice and resources are shared effectively to respond to local needs."
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's Local Senior Officer for Aberdeenshire and Moray area, David Rout was at yesterday's launch with Assistant Chief Officer David Goodhew, Head of Response and Resilience for SFRS and Mr Rout said: "The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service welcomes today's announcement and looks forward to a new and exciting chapter in multi-agency, partnership working arrangements.
"It demonstrates how agencies can work effectively and efficiently together to the benefit of our rural communities.
"The Moray Local Fire and Rescue Plan places partnership working at the heart of all our priorities. I am delighted that after a great deal of hard work between the fire and rescue service, Police Scotland and Scottish Ambulance Service we have established a unique tri-emergency service footprint in such a rural area as Tomintoul.
"By working closer together with our partners we shall be in a stronger position to ensure that our fire safety work is targeted towards those individuals and groups who are most vulnerable and at most risk from fire."
Police Scotland's PC Andy Main will be based at the unit providing a link to the community and the facility will allow closer working between all three primary emergency services from a single site.
Also at the launch yesterday was Chief Constable Sir Stephen House QPM, who said: "The foundations of Police Scotland are built on strong local policing which serves the public and is connected to communities across the country, from the most urban of environments to the most rural.
"Building and maintaining a visible local policing presence in communities across Aberdeenshire and Moray Division is critical to how we keep people safe. Investing in modern police buildings from where our officers can base themselves to provide the right response to the policing priorities specific to each area is an important part of how we achieve that.
"Where we can, we want to work closely with our emergency service partners. Tomintoul provides another great example of all three blue light services – Police Scotland, the Scottish Ambulance Service and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service – working ever more closely to deliver for communities.
"Tomintoul is an area which is extremely popular with visitors be it for the stunning countryside, summer and winter sports available in the area or as part of the whisky trail. But it also presents unique challenges for policing, in terms of the terrain, popularity with tourists and often extreme weather conditions.
"Working together from shared premises can only enhance the already strong local relationships and response to incidents and emergencies."
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "This government is committed to ensuring communities all across Scotland have excellent local provisions, and this facility is a welcome addition to that.
"The tri-emergency service station is the latest in a series of investments both Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have made across the North of Scotland, joining the new Police Scotland Service Delivery Area HQ in Aberdeen, the new major incident and events control centre in Inverness, and the new Fire Scotland Asset Resource Centre.
"Only last month, a new purpose built joint ambulance and police station was opened in Fort William with great success, creating a major new partner-working facility to help keep people safe in the wider West Central Highlands.
"I hope today's opening can build on this ethos of strong partnership working and improved financial efficiency.
"All in all, these collaborative facilities are creating jobs, strengthening the response to emergency incidents, improving community safety and ensuring our emergency services have a robust footprint right across the North of Scotland.”
David Garbutt, Chairman, Scottish Ambulance Service, said: "We have worked closely with colleagues in Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to develop a new station for ambulance staff that provides modern, fit for purpose facilities that meet all NHS infection control standards.
"The station is a base for one emergency ambulance, crewed by a rota of two Paramedics and two Ambulance Technicians, supported by three auxiliary staff. They work closely with emergency service partners and the co-location will enhance that relationship for the benefit of the whole community."