SFRS and National Trust's partnership to protect Scotland's historic buildings and artefacts

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The partnership was launched today at Duns House, Montrose

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Caption: left to right: Julie Bon, NTS Conservator, John McKenna, NTS Property Manager at House of Dun and Bruce Farquharson from SFRS are joined by crew from Montrose at the launch

SCOTTISH Fire and Rescue Service has joined forces with the National Trust for Scotland to help protect the country's buildings and rare artefacts in the event of an emergency.

The National Trust for Scotland’s built heritage and their important collections of artwork, furniture and historic artefacts will be better protected in the event of something like a fire, thanks to the new partnership.

Under the programme which was announced today at the House of Dun, Angus, local fire crews will have remote access to detailed plans for Trust properties in their area, including priority objects that should be saved first in the event of a major incident.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will also work with staff at properties across Scotland to run emergency exercises that will help them to refine the emergency response plans for their property.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager Bruce Farquharson, who has been involved in the partnership, said:

“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is proud to be working closely with the National Trust for Scotland to help better protect the country’s most valuable pieces and buildings.

“The Glasgow School of Art fire highlighted the worldwide importance of our heritage sites and has been the catalyst for this collaborative approach.

“Having detailed knowledge of sites of historic importance will benefit the fire service greatly in terms of our approach to an incident at such a site and will give us the best possible chance of saving priceless items or buildings should the worst happen.”

Conservator Julie Bon has been leading on the development of property emergency plans.

She said: "The devastating events at Glasgow School of Art and the National Trust’s Clandon Park have made emergency response a hot topic for the heritage industry.

"We are taking a proactive approach to make sure that should the worst ever happen, the preparation and procedures are in place to keep our properties and collections as safe as they can be.”

A test exercise took place in Aberdeenshire at Fyvie Castle last year, simulating a major fire.

The Trust will also be hosting familiarisation visits for local fire crews at all of its properties, to help them better understand the sometimes complex layout of old buildings that have developed over centuries, as well as seeing some of the key collection pieces in place.