Latest Fire Safety and Organisational Statistics published

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) employs more than 7,600 people, according to latest figures.

Fire Safety and Organisational Statistics are published each year and the latest report is now available in the 'About Us' section of our website.

The report shows there are 3,490 wholetime operational firefighters in 2022-23 compared with 3,530 the year before – around a one percent reduction.

SFRS Interim Deputy Chief Officer and Director of People, Liz Barnes, said: “We are fortunate to have a wealth of experience in our workforce with over half of wholetime operational staff serving 15 years or longer.

“The longer-term picture shows an overall decrease in wholetime firefighters however, this is due to a number of factors including the streamlining of services and standardisation of duty patterns and appliance crewing, as well as retirements, changes to pension scheme, natural turnover and vacancies.

“We continue to implement a policy of year-round recruitment, targeted where the need is greatest in Scotland, and it’s encouraging to see a rise in the number of wholetime trainees in the past year.”

Recruitment and retention of on call firefighters can be challenging within rural and remote areas. However, there is less than a one percent reduction of on call firefighters across the period (from 2,758 to 2,735).

SFRS continues to encourage people from all walks of life, including under-represented groups to consider a career with the Service.

Since 2017-18, the number of female wholetime operational staff has risen from 175 to 227.
DCO Barnes said: “It’s encouraging to see that in the last five years, the number of female wholetime operational staff has risen by almost a third, but we will continue to do more to increase diversity in our workforce.”

Disappointingly, attacks on personnel have increased from 76 in 2021-22 to 80 in 2022-23. More than half of these were verbal abuse. There has been a ten percent rise in objects thrown at firefighters and appliances.

DCO Barnes added: “Attacks on any emergency service worker are unacceptable. It’s vital that our crews work to bring any emergency to a safe and swift conclusion without being exposed to this kind of behaviour.

“We know that those carrying out attacks are a very small minority within our communities. We will continue to work with our Police Scotland colleagues to identify those responsible but also engage with communities to raise awareness of the very negative impact of these attacks.”

Fire prevention work is a vital aspect of the role of our firefighters. Home Fire Safety Visits continue to be a valuable way to help the most vulnerable people in our communities to be safer in their properties.

One in twelve households across Scotland have been given bespoke safety advice in the past five years, with more than 38,000 visits in the past year alone.