Family of life-savers provide remarkable service to Highland community

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Watch Manager Rosie Curtis and her family have worked to protect their home village for decades.

Rosie, brother, Hugh, husband, David and sister Nan.

A FIREFIGHTER working in one of Scotland’s most remote Highland communities has told how her entire family works together to save lives.

Watch Manager Rosie Curtis could be mobilised to an incident in the village of Kilchoan alongside husband David, brother Hugh and her sister Nan.

Nan has just retired and Hugh will soon be hanging up his own helmet – but Rosie’s three children are now thinking of continuing the proud family tradition by joining the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s vital retained service.

Rosie, recently awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal for her unstinting dedication, told how serving with her family has its benefits.

But when attending an emergency, she insists it’s business as usual.

Rosie explained: “It’s good to have family around you when working, but when the pager goes, you are a firefighter above anything else.

“We all know what we have to do and have a clear chain of command.

“We are a family, a close one, but when the pager goes, we are professionals - and get on with it.”

Her children - Chloe, 13, Megan, 12 and Allan, seven – are all fire service born and bred.

Rosemary revealed: “There are times we can all be sitting around the dinner table and it’s a case of drop everything and go.

“The kids know the drill and realise that when the pager goes David and I will be running out the door, and so will they - to their auntie’s.

“They’ve never known a life outside of the Fire Service - we’ve been in the Service since they were babies, so they’re well used to it.

“Allan wants to be a firefighter when he’s older and asks a lot of questions about the Service.

“He likes to come along to the station with me and is very inquisitive.

“All three know that when the pager goes their mum and dad are going to help someone – hopefully we rub off on them and we get at least one joining the Service.”

The need for young people to step up to protect rural communities is not lost on Rosemary.

The Watch Manager has dedicated herself to the SFRS, but is appealing to the next generation of retained firefighters to follow in her footsteps.

She said: “We need young people to come in to our communities and to help.

“Myself and David have already said to our own kids that we won’t be able to keep it going forever – young people are the future.

“Communities like our own rely on people serving as firefighters, and as emergency service workers – it’s so important.

“It’s hard graft and definitely not a piece of cake, but it’s very rewarding and you know that you are helping people and preventing fires.

“Retained firefighters keep communities going, it’s a very rewarding career.”

Rab Middlemiss is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Local Senior Officer for the Highlands.

He said: “Retained firefighters like Rosie and her family are an absolute inspiration.

“Like all of our RDS crews, Rosie and her family do this job for no reason other than a sense of absolute loyalty and service to their home communities.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Rosie, David, Hugh and Nan for their outstanding commitment to both their local community and to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.”

For more details on the RDS recruitment process, visit the SFRS website or where potential applicants can download an information pack.

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