Firefighters face fewer attacks
Number of incidents falls for third year in a row.
The Minister for Community Safety has welcomed a drop in the number of attacks on Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) personnel during 2013-14.
The total number of incidents where attacks occurred decreased from 81 incidents in 2012-13 to 69 incidents in 2013-14. Since 2010-11 the number of incidents where attacks on firefighters have occurred are down by 60 per cent.
The number of Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSVs) carried out by the SFRS increased by 26 per cent from 2012-13 with two in every five visits last year to homes with an “above” or “well above” average risk level. The number of smoke alarms installed as part of these visits increased by 35 per cent on the previous year.
HFSVs combined with other preventative initiatives such as local and national public information campaigns have contributed to the downward trend in the number of dwelling fires and fire fatalities in Scotland, which are currently at their lowest level since 2005.
On March 31, 2014 there were 8,484 members of SFRS staff, a decrease of five per cent on the previous year. There were no station closures during 2013-14.
The SFRS remains committed to no compulsory redundancies. Alternative posts, relocation, re-training and voluntary redundancy packages have all been offered to support and control room staff where the harmonisation of services identified areas of duplication.
Community Safety Minister Paul Wheelhouse said:
“I am extremely pleased to see that attacks on Scottish firefighters are decreasing but there is still more work to be done. Even one attack on the hardworking men and women who often put their own lives at risk to keep the people of Scotland safe is one too many.
“All public facing staff should feel able to do their job without fear of attack and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is no exception. This Government is fully committed to providing the SFRS with the support they need so they can continue to reduce the number of fires and fire related injuries in our communities.
“Scotland’s firefighters do an extremely difficult and demanding job which may not always get the recognition it deserves. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the SFRS for all the hard work they continue to do 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to protect the people of Scotland.
“We are almost two years on from the successful transition to the single Fire and Rescue Service in Scotland and already we have seen the benefits of reform thanks to efforts made by SFRS staff. All parts of Scotland now have access to specialist equipment and expertise, there has been a reduction in the duplication of services and we are continuing to protect and improve local services. This has all been achieved in line with the SFRS commitment to no compulsory redundancies.”
Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay, Director of Prevention and Protection, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said:
“Since Scotland’s eight fire and rescue services merged to form the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) in April 2013, our staff have been devoted to providing Scotland with a world-class service that protects us from fire and prevents harm to our communities caused by fire.
“As the SFRS Fire Safety and Organisational Statistics published today by the Scottish Government show, the unification of eight fire services has better served our communities in terms of preventing fires, making cost efficiency savings and educating the public as to how to prevent fires in the first place.
“These reductions have been achieved through effectively streamlining and deploying staff where and when they were needed throughout the country.
“These are the first local authority statistics to be published since SFRS was established and I am very pleased to see that in 2013/14 SFRS provided the public with over 70,000 Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV) - this was an outstanding 26 per cent increase in comparison to the year before. 40 per cent of HFSVs were carried out in homes which were ‘above’ or ‘well above’ the average risk level.
“While it is disappointing to see from the statistics that there were 69 incidents involving an attack on our staff in 2013/14, I acknowledge that this was 12 less than in the year before. We are committed to keeping our staff safe as they go about their work protecting Scotland.
“It is the duty of our staff to ensure that we keep Scotland safe from fire, but we also need active citizens to take responsibility for the safety of others; to talk to vulnerable friends and neighbours about the danger of fire, make sure they have working smoke alarms and know what to do in an emergency. To join Scotland's fight against fire and arrange a free home fire safety visit for you, or someone you know who could be at risk of fire, call SFRS on the freephone number 0800 0731 999 or text ‘FIRE’ to 80800, which is also free of charge. Alternatively, the public can arrange a visit via the SFRS website at www.firescotland.gov.uk”
Notes To Editors
Under the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act 2005, anyone found guilty of attacking personnel undertaking emergency responses can face fines of up to £10,000 and /or one year’s imprisonment.
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