Community consultation in Lochinver to encourage more retained firefighters

Publish Date:

The meeting on Monday evening will look at ways in which the community can help the service recruit

Landfill Fire 2

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is hosting a community consultation event in Lochinver on Monday (7 December 2015) to discuss how communities and businesses can help the service recruit new retained firefighters.

The event will take place at 7.30pm at Lochinver Community Fire Station and is being supported by the local community council and Highland Council’s elected members.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is encouraging men and women to apply in order to help protect the communities in which they live.

Becoming a retained duty system (RDS) firefighter brings with it a tremendous sense of satisfaction and gives ordinary people an opportunity to do extraordinary work, helping protect communities from fire and saving lives and the environment.

RDS firefighters come from diverse backgrounds and bring a variety of experiences to the role. A range of skills are required including being a team player, having excellent communication skills and displaying attention to detail.

You 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 miles of the fire station.

Among the discussions will be the added value RDS staff bring to their local communities ranges from highly skilled community-based firefighters able to respond to emergencies to the delivery of community safety advice, information and assistance through the delivery of HFSV and support for other partner agencies in falls prevention advice

Speaking ahead of the event, Local Senior Officer for Highland Scott Hay, said: “SFRS has experienced some difficulties in terms of recruiting personnel for our Retained duty system within the North West Sutherland area.

“The Lochinver unit has been “off the run”, as an operational resource, for some time due to a lack of competent personnel and despite advertisements and localised promotion we are still looking to add to our numbers there.

“The unit only has five crew members, one of whom is currently on maternity leave. We hope this consultation can find a solution to this recruitment issue which has gone on for some time now.”

He added: “SFRS currently requires RDS staff to live and work within a 5 mile radius of a community fire station. However, where this is extremely challenging, the SFRS is currently examining where and how we can increase this recruitment pool from the wider communities in and around our community fire stations.

“We are also performing a more detailed examination of local communities which will reflect the local dynamics and needs for the communities served, based on known risks within the communities.

“This review will also ensure we offer a flexible approach to recruitment, retention and training for local community firefighters protecting their local communities.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has been working closely with the Community Planning Partnership in Highland to reach an agreement whereby partner organisations will encourage staff members within their own organisations (ie NHS Highland and Highland Council) to support the communities in which they live by becoming retained firefighters.

LSO Hay has also been working closely with elected members in Sutherland and encouraging them to highlight the Service’s appeal for new RDS members in the area.

The next phase of RDS recruitment opens in February 2016 and although the application portal is not open until then LSO Hay is encouraging those who may be interested to provide their contact details as well as  speak to their local fire officer about the application process and discuss any other questions they may have. We would also encourage you to visit the SFRS website for further information