RFU Scotland Press Statement 29 September 2011- Recruitment & Retention of Part-time firefighters

September 29, 2011

Grampian FRS, Local News

Recruitment & Retention of Part-time Firefighters
Following reports in the local newspapers claiming that there is a staffing crisis throughout Grampian Fire & Rescue Service (FRS) putting lives at risk; the Retained Firefighters’ Union (RFU) would like to reassure the communities of Moray and Aberdeenshire that both the Fire Service and the RFU takes the issue of public and firefighter safety extremely seriously. The staffing shortages, while not ideal,  do not place local people in imminent danger of losing your life to a fire due to lack of available fire engines.
The RFU is aware that the service is 71 part-time (retained) firefighters short of its full complement of 480 and is working with the service to encourage people to come forward and serve their community as a retained firefighter.
The article stated that residents of Peterhead, Huntly, Aberchirder, Inverbervie, Old Meldrum, Lossiemouth, Rothes, Aberlour, Cullen and Portsoy are at risk because their stations are under staffed, however, this is misleading as several of the stations are fully crewed, but due to demographics, staff have to work out of their town/village in their primary employment, at times placing the fire engine unavailable to respond to fires. Due to an electronic availability system, the service is aware when a fire appliance is short crewed and therefore unavailable and are able to mobilise the next nearest appliance sooner, thus saving valuable minutes.
Residents of Fraserburgh may be concerned that they are at risk due to crews being unable to meet the services own response times, however, this is for a very small, very high risk area of the stations risk area. Retained fire fighters from Fraserburgh are engaging with the community to drive down risk in this area and thus reduce the overall risk on their station’s area.
The RFU will continue to support the service in its risk reduction strategy and the drive to recruit more retained firefighters. One of the barriers to recruitment is awareness, we hope that the recent negative news story can be used positively to generate interest in members of the public expressing an interest in joining their local fire station.
Message Ends
Press contacts
Jim Kilpatrick National Officer for Scotland
Mobile: 07896 254162            email: jim.kilpatrick@therfu.org
Paul Taylor Assistant National Officer for Scotland
Mobile: 07841 382046            email: paul.taylor@therfu.org

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