Off-duty firefighter in Highland rescue

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Station Manager Ross Nixon and members of the public went to the aid of a man and woman after their car left the A9 near Moy.

SM Ross Nixon

An off-duty firefighter and fellow passers-by sprang into action to help a man and woman from a partially overturned car after it suddenly careered off the road in the Highlands.

Station Manager Ross Nixon was driving his sons Grant, aged 11, and Alistair, aged nine, to the Landmark Forest Adventure Park in Carrbridge on Sunday afternoon (16 August) when the incident unfolded ahead of them.

He explained: “The car suddenly veered into the middle of the road. It was moving erratically then it left the carriageway and went into a wooded area.

“I pulled over and got to there at the same time as three or four others. The vehicle had come to rest in a bog and it was positioned on its side with the driver and passenger still in their seats.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) officer’s training kicked-in and he quickly moved to make the vehicle safe and co-ordinate attempts to assist the man and woman inside.

He continued: “I applied the handbrake to secure the vehicle as best we could and turned off the ignition. We got the woman out the passenger door but it was clear the man was in a bad way.

“He was unconscious and didn’t appear to be breathing but thankfully he came round after a sternal rub and we managed to get him out. 

“Afterwards I had to apologise to the members of the public for ordering them about – you instinctively take charge of the situation but they really were great in helping the man and also in reassuring his wife until an ambulance arrived.”

With the couple in the care of paramedics Ross left the scene to minimise the chance of a subsequent collision involving the cars now parked beside the A9.

Now serving as the SFRS officer in charge of the Badenoch and Strathspey district, he became a firefighter 18 years ago and believes this incident shows the value of people in rural and remote communities serving in the fire and rescue service.

He said: “The latest phase of our recruitment campaign for retained firefighters is now open and there are stations across the Highlands and throughout Scotland looking for people to join their crews.

“The men and women who serve in this vital role respond to fires, floods, road traffic collisions, chemical spills and many more incidents where people are in danger.

“It’s an incredibly rewarding job that gives you potentially life-saving skills and I would urge anyone who is interested in applying to get in touch with us.”

In return for their service RDS firefighters are paid an annual retainer fee plus additional payments for every incident attended and time spent on all activity, including training nights, community engagement and courses.

Applicants must be aged 18 years or over, have a good level of physical fitness, have the required standard of vision and colour perception and live or work within five to eight minutes of the fire station.

You will need to demonstrate that you have the potential to carry out this challenging role through a rigorous recruitment process.

Full details are available online at, where people can find information regarding specific vacancies and download the Recruitment Information Pack.

Applicants are requested to note the key dates for this recruitment process as detailed within the information pack and ensure that they consider their availability to attend on the dates specified, including the initial two-week training course, prior to submitting an application.

Further supplementary information is provided on the SFRS website