Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is expanding an established partnership arrangement with Highlands and Islands Airport Ltd (HIAL), to provide new training facilities which will enhance firefighter safety and reduce the risk to communities.
The new Compartment Fire Behaviour Training (CFBT) unit was unveiled today at Dundee Airport.
This significant investment contributes towards the organisation’s strategic objective to provide more equitable access to fire service resources across the country.
The capital funding project forms part of a wider three year investment programme coordinated by Training and Employee Development (TED) and Property Services to enhance the training asset portfolio throughout the North Service Delivery Area.
A figure of £400k was allocated to the new facility at Dundee Airport, with further investment scheduled for 2015-17 to provide similar training facilities at other HIAL sites based at Inverness, Stornoway and Kirkwall Airports.
SFRS Chief Officer Alasdair Hay welcomed the successful expansion of these shared partnership arrangements between SFRS and HIAL.
He said: “Our primary aim is to ensure all employees have the skills and knowledge required to perform their role competently, with the focus of increasing firefighter safety and reducing risk to our local communities.
“Improving the quality, efficiency and infrastructure of training provision and commercial opportunities through this effective partnership enables us to ensure that effective training is provided to all employees to a consistent, professional standard and quality, irrespective of geographical location.”
Minister for Community Safety Paul Wheelhouse said: “The Scottish Government is fully committed to supporting the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and other relevant partners to continue to reduce the number of fires and fire related injuries in our communities.
“This successful continued partnership between the SFRS and the Highlands and Islands Airport Ltd is excellent news for communities and firefighters alike. It builds on one of our key areas of reform by protecting and improving local services while demonstrating the strong commitment made by SFRS to beneficial partnership working.
“I am extremely pleased that further investment for similar facilities at other Scottish airports has been scheduled for 2015-17 meaning even more areas of Scotland can benefit from this great initiative.”
Chair of SFRS Board Pat Watters said: “This initiative ensures we deliver SFRS’s vision of ensuring that the benefits of reform are realised, supporting the Fire and Rescue Framework for Scotland and further develop our objectives of acquiring and maintain lifesaving skills as part of a well-equipped, skilled workforce in safe and competent manner.”
Also in attendance today were SFRS’s Director of People and Organisational Development, Diane Vincent, Deputy Assistant Chief Officer and Head of Service Delivery in the North, Andy Coueslant and Andrew Lindsay, Dundee Airport Fire Manager.
Speaking at the launch, Temporary Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Iain Vincent, who has responsibility within TED, said: “A considerable amount of planning over a number of months has been undertaken as part of this partnership initiative, and the contribution of our staff and partners should rightly be recognised as this mutually beneficial arrangement further illustrates the willingness of all parties involved to protect our communities and firefighters.”
David Hackett, Airport Fire Service Operations Manager for HIAL, said: “HIAL is delighted to be working in partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. As one of the largest airport fire groups in the UK, our professional firefighters train for a wide variety of potential scenarios, which are quite distinct from the challenges faced by SFRS fire fighters.
“We therefore welcome the opportunity to work with the team at SFRS and share best practice. It will be a valuable learning experience for both partners. We look forward to expanding this partnership approach at other HIAL airports.”
The purpose of the Compartment Fire Behaviour Training (CFBT) facility and the various courses delivered at this and other SFRS sites are to provide firefighters (whether initial trainees, in development or competent) with the in-depth knowledge and understanding of the burning characteristics and development of fires within a compartment.
They are taught to recognise and assess the risks involved, and implement appropriate safety control measures.
SFRS and HIAL have worked together previously on another unit in Sumburgh, Shetland. That unit was the model which is now being followed at Dundee and elsewhere in the future.