RFU Scotland Response to Audit Scotland Best Value Report

Following the publication of the Audit of Best Value report on Highlands & Islands FRS, the RFU issued the following press release.

PRESS STATEMENT – 9 March 2012

Audit Scotland Report Highlands & Islands FRS

Following the publication of the Audit Scotland report on Highlands & Islands Fire & Rescue Service (HIFRS), and the subsequent media coverage, the Retained Firefighters’ Union (RFU) acknowledges the anxiety felt by members of local communities as to not only the level of emergency fire cover provided, but also the competence of the fire crews providing the fire cover.

Whilst much has been reported in the media stating that Retained firefighters in HIFRS are unsatisfactorily trained and therefore unsafe, the RFU maintain that retained firefighters across the region are competent and capable of protecting the communities they serve.

It has been recognised by HIFRS that there has been lack of investment in the training of firefighters and in conjunction with the Fire Board, the RFU and other representative bodies, all effort is being concentrated on firefighter AND community safety.

A training programme to ensure firefighters meet national occupational standards has already been rolled out and has the full support of the RFU. 

The RFU is against the closure of any fire station or removal of any fire service resource that compromises public safety, and following the recent H&I fire board seminar, we were encouraged by the assurances given that the threat of station closures has been removed. We will continue to work with the board, management & other key stakeholders including our membership and the local communities to ensure that sustainable fire stations remain sustainable.

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 media coverage 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

Alastair Mcarthur Highlands & Islands Branch Secretary

Mobile: 07796 538629            email: alastair.mcarthur@therfu.org

Paul Taylor Assistant National Officer for Scotland

Mobile: 07730 034314            email: paul.taylor@therfu.org

w: scotland.therfu.org

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