Specialist rope rescue unit launched in Aberdeen

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A team of specialist firefighters in Aberdeen are the latest to have been trained and equipped to rescue people trapped on rooftops, deep gorges and cliff faces.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's technical rope rescue unit will be available to help protect communities from this week forward.

Based in the city's Altens Community Fire Station, the new resource represents significant investment in training, a bespoke vehicle, PPE and equipment.

Specialising in rescue scenarios that involve tall buildings, steep cliffs or inaccessible hill sides, the technical rope rescue team is equipped to not only lower one or more firefighters down to a casualty in distress, they are also trained to retrieve that casualty - moving them into a basket or harness before lifting or lowering them to safety.

They can also safely assist partners such as paramedics to reach casualties, and move life saving equipment using their rope and pulley expertise.

The unit is the fourth of its kind in Scotland, and will help ensure that the service has a national rope rescue footprint.

AC Farquharson said: “We have trained and equipped these firefighters to the same standard as our three other rope rescue units across the country, to ensure that they can respond quickly and effectively to help people who find themselves in difficulty across Aberdeen and the surrounding areas.

“They are also capable of responding to the most dynamic and challenging incidents, supporting our other resources and partners at incidents where access may be difficult due to the terrain.

"I am delighted that we can now call upon their specialist skills and equipment locally and they form a vital part of our national rope rescue capability."

The unit demonstrated its capabilities to partners and invited guests at the station on Monday, August 24.

It is the second specialist unit to be launched in Aberdeen in recent years, with a new water rescue unit launched in 2018 and a further £320,000 invested in a refurbished training centre at North Anderson Drive last year.

AC Farquharson added: "This is the result of many months of hard work from the crews, our local management team and of course support from the wider service and absolutely underlines our commitment to Aberdeen and the surrounding areas.

"My thanks must go to the crews for their hard work which has ensured that we could make the resource live at this time, and to all who have supported that process."


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