Response and Resilience

Every year our firefighters attend more than 90,000 incidents across the length and breadth of Scotland. However, there’s more to our emergency response than you might think. You can be sure though, that whatever the emergency, our highly trained fire crews will be on hand to protect our communities 24/7, 365 days a year.


The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has a legal responsibility to deal with fires that cause damage to any property. We attend fires in buildings of all types and sizes. These range from small fires involving sheds, garages, houses, small shops. Through to large scale fires involving factories, shopping centres and high flats.

We also deal with many fires involving vehicles. These can range from small private cars to large road haulage vehicles. The incident could vary in size from a small domestic car on a small country lane to a multi-lane pile up on a major motorway involving many casualties and vehicles of different types. The fires can involve the vehicles themselves (ie. engine compartment, passenger compartment) or the load the vehicles are carrying (i.e. goods, chemicals).

The Fire and Rescue Service deal with many different kinds of rural fires. These include fires involving grass, gorse, crops and woodland. These fires can range in size from a few square metres to many hectares, which may take days and a huge amount of resources to overcome.

We also attend fires involving rubbish, whether they involve bins alight or fires on open ground, as they may spread and cause structural damage to neighbouring property or harm the surrounding environment or the health of members of the public.

Road Traffic Collisions

Road Traffic Collisions form a large part of our front line service and in partnership with our emergency service colleagues across Scotland, we are working hard to reduce their impact.  In the last year, the Service attended over 2,200 such incidents, using a range of specialist equipment to help extricate victims.

Specialist Rescue

Rescuing people is a major part of the work that we do. Our highly trained crews work with partners from other agencies to safely rescue those in need.

Our Urban Search and Rescue teams are trained to locate casualties trapped beneath collapsed structures. We use specialist equipment such as listening devices which can pick up sounds as small as a ticking watch buried metres below rubble. Heavy duty cutting equipment allows us to get to those who are trapped as quickly and as safely as possible.

We also have teams of line rescue staff fully trained and equipped to the highest standards. Our line rescue capability allows us to carry out height rescues from places such as cliffs, high buildings and other tall structures.  Our line rescue teams also stand by to assist the police in potential suicide incidents, endeavouring to secure the safety of all involved, including the rescuers.

The majority of our frontline fire appliances have the capability to carry out rescues in inland watercourses such as lochs, reservoirs and rivers. This capability comes in the form of trained staff and appropriate equipment such as lifejackets, throw lines, rescue lines and inflatable hose apparatus.

We can also utilise this capability to undertake rescues from other unstable surfaces like ice, mud or slurry.


Communities in Scotland both expect and deserve an effective response to an emergency. That’s why we work in conjunction with our partner agencies to plan and train so that we are prepared and resilient in the face of major emergencies and disruptive challenges such as terrorist attacks, major flooding or accidents that can lead to, or result in, crisis.

Our Civil Contingencies and Resilience teams work closely with multi-agency partners ensuring that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is in compliance with the Civil Contingencies Act (CCA) 2004. We are a key member the Local and Regional Resilience Partnerships as required by the CCA, and work alongside the Police and other emergency response services to fulfil our civil contingencies planning responsibilities.