Changes to Firefighter Role/Ways of Working


What exactly do you mean by a bigger role for firefighters?

We are proposing a new role for firefighters.

The changing nature of risk in Scotland means firefighters have a vital role to play in responding to terrorist attacks, severe weather, emergency medical response and a wider prevention role.

It is right that firefighters are trained, equipped and rewarded for this significantly wider role.

In addition, we would be seeking a more flexible workforce to allow us to align resources and deploy them when and where the need is greatest.

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Will you really be training and equipping every firefighter in Scotland to undertake terrorist response? Is there equal need across Scotland?

Transformation would allow us to use the entire resources of the national service to deliver local solutions. We would want firefighters to be trained and equipped to take on a wider role but we would still have areas of specialism aligned directly to specific risk.

Combined with greater flexibility in firefighter T&Cs, it would mean that in times of greatest need we could then deploy trained and equipped firefighters to where they are needed most. 

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What exactly do you mean by terrorist response - what will they be expected to do? 

Recent terrorist incidents across the UK and Europe have seen firefighters at the forefront of emergency response – tackling fires, providing emergency medical response and also responding to any other hazards. 

If we are to ask firefighters to go into a potentially dangerous response area then they should be trained and have the right equipment to do so.

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Are you proposing that firefighters become paramedics through the EMR role?

Not at all. We are proposing a solution that would see our firefighters play in a role in the chain of survival alongside their ambulance colleagues.

The benefits were clearly shown during our Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Trials, where firefighters saved lives by administering vital CPR before passing the patient into the care of paramedics with advanced skills.

This is about saving lives, not about which badge is on the door of the responding vehicle.

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In terms of a wider social care role is this just not health on the cheap?

We do not believe it is right to spend taxpayers’ money supporting a demand-led system. By undertaking broader preventative work, we can help take demand out i.e. preventing slips and falls and lessen the burden on an already stretched health service. This is good for the people of Scotland.  

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Would it not be cheaper just to pay for care workers rather than firefighters?

We are not proposing to replace care workers, who provide an invaluable service. We are proposing an extended preventative role that will reduce demand on those care workers and the wider health services.

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If we extend the firefighter role, how do we have clarity on where our role ends and our partner agency begins?

We will work in collaboration with our partners to establish these parameters. For example we would establish Memorandums of Understandings or other types of agreement with our partner agencies. These would evolve and continue to strengthen through regular review.

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Expansion of inspection and enforcement is mentioned.  What will that look like?

Following the Grenfell incident, it is anticipated that broad responsibilities for inspection and enforcement will change for the Service.  As yet, the detail is still to be worked through and how any change of responsibility for the Service will disseminate down to firefighters.

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