Shaping our Future Service: Your Say

We want to hear your views on what you want from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Have your say

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has launched an online survey as we consider future changes to our emergency service.

There are issues that we must address with our ageing estate while ensuring that we are best placed to meet the changing community risk across Scotland.

The survey, titled Shaping Our Future Service: Your Say, is open until 30 June 2024 and marks the first stage in our engagement with communities, staff, representative bodies, partners and elected members.

We want to be a modern fire and rescue service that is ready for the challenges of Scotland’s future.

We want to do more for our communities, not just by responding to incidents but by stopping them from happening. To make sure we have the right resources in the right place at the right time we need to change.

Below we have set out areas we could change but we need your help to make sure we get this right for the communities we serve.

We want to hear your views on what you want from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

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Why do we need to change

The types of incidents we attend are changing and different parts of Scotland need different services from us. This means we need to change how we work.

For example, we are seeing fewer house fires but more flooding and wildfire incidents.

We know some of our fire stations are in areas to support risks that are no longer there – like heavy industry such as shipyards or coal mines.

Some of our fire stations are also no longer fit for purpose and require significant investment to make them safer and more suitable for our staff.

Our communities are changing too with more people living longer at home who need additional support.

We know we can do more to keep Scotland safe. We want to focus on prevention to make communities safer so we can reduce demand on both us and other public services.

We are also committed to reducing our carbon footprint which means investing in more energy efficient buildings and vehicles.

What could change?

Developing the firefighter role

We would like to develop the role of our firefighters. We could work with our public service partners to take on more prevention work in our communities or support the Scottish Ambulance Service with emergency response activities.

The benefits to the people of Scotland in working closer with our public service partners could be significant.


Changing where our stations and appliances are based

Some of our stations are not in the best places to meet the current risks faced in communities.

We could change where our stations and appliances are based. This could involve merging stations in similar geographical locations to better reflect risk and demand.

Merging or moving stations would allow us to better use our resources elsewhere and invest in new, modern stations where required.

By changing our footprint, we can reduce our running costs and potentially generate income from sites being sold.

The construction of new buildings would also help to address issues with contamination and suitable welfare facilities while providing staff with a newer, modern workplace.


Changing how and when we staff our resources

Our wholetime firefighters are split across five groups (watches) which allows us to provide cover at some stations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Our on call (retained) firefighters provide the same service but are called to attend emergencies via a pager.

We also have on call (volunteer) firefighters and Community Response Units who respond to specific types of incidents via a pager system.

These are all types of duty systems. Some stations use one type of duty system and others that use a mix.

We could change duty systems in some areas to meet the risk and demand. For example, we could have wholetime firefighters during the day and on call firefighters at night.


Changing how we attend emergencies

Our crewing model, which is the number of firefighters in appliances that attend an emergency, is another area we could explore for change.

Different models are used throughout the UK and there could be options to change the crewing arrangements for different appliances in individual stations.


Rationalising our corporate buildings

Our corporate buildings provide working space for both uniformed and support staff.

We have already closed our West Service Delivery Area Headquarters at Hamilton after the site was designated as surplus to requirements, saving £500,000 in annual running costs.

We could create savings to invest in other areas by closing additional sites.

Next steps

You can also find more details in our online information pack.

Once we have completed this exercise, we will review all feedback.

This will be used to help develop options for public consultation.

Related content


Guide to our consultation process, open and previous consultations, and how to make sure you have your say.

Get involved

Find out how you can get involved in consultations, volunteer schemes, and more.