New firefighter role

 

What exactly do you mean by a bigger role for FFs?

The changing nature of risk in Scotland means firefighters have a vital role to play in responding to terrorist attacks, severe weather, emergency medical response and a wider prevention role. It is right that firefighters are trained, equipped and rewarded for this significantly wider role. In addition, we would be seeking a more flexible workforce to allow us to align resources and deploy them when and where the need is greatest.

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What exactly do you mean by new T&Cs for firefighters?

As part of our negotiations for an improved recognition package, firefighters would be asked to accept new T&Cs that will bring greater flexibility to how, when and where we deliver our service.

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Will you really be training and equipping every firefighter in Scotland to undertake terrorist response? Is there equal need across Scotland?

Transformation would allow us to use the entire resources of the national service to deliver local solutions. We would want firefighters to be trained and equipped to take on a wider role but we would still have areas of specialism aligned directly to specific risk.

Combined with greater flexibility in firefighter T&Cs, it would mean that in times of greatest need we could then deploy trained and equipped firefighters to where they are needed most.

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Are you not just creating new responsibilities to avoid budget / staff cuts?

Our proposals will see a carefully planned re-balancing of firefighter numbers. A more efficient delivery model will actually allow us to do more with a small overall reduction in firefighters. We will always make the case for the right resources but transformation is not a grab for money from other budget areas – it is about delivering more within available funds.

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In terms of a wider social care is this just not ambulance on the cheap?

We do not believe it is right to spend taxpayers’ money supporting a demand-led system. By undertaking broader preventative work, we can help take demand out i.e. preventing slips and falls and lessen the burden on an already stretched health service. This is good for the people of Scotland.

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Would it not be cheaper just to pay for care workers rather than firefighters?

We are not proposing to replace care workers, who provide an invaluable service. We are proposing an extended preventative role that will reduce demand on those care workers and the wider health services.

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Do firefighters really want to assist elderly with care in the home?

Firefighters join SFRS to save lives and improve public wellbeing. If their preventative work can ensure the safety and wellbeing of elderly residents in their homes then this is as valuable a role as firefighting.

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What exactly do you mean by terrorist response – what will they be expected to do?

Recent terrorist incidents across the UK and Europe have seen firefighters at the forefront of emergency response – tackling fires, providing emergency medical response and also responding to any other hazards. If we are to ask firefighters to go into a potentially dangerous response area then they should be trained and have the right equipment to do so.

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Firefighters are unlikely to play as big a role as police in terrorist incidents. Why should they be paid more?

It is right that we provide a new recognition package for a completely new role and new terms and conditions. It is right that firefighters are rewarded appropriately for that role. At any incident.

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