Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Progress Reports/Updates on Service Matters - Scottish Fire & Rescue Service

Performance Report (Copy attached)

Update on Service Matters


LSO Stephen Gourlay


There had been circulated copies of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Services (SFRS) Local Plan Performance Report.  Local Senior Officer (LSO) Gourlay began his report by updating on the SFRS transformation programme, advising  that progress on this was linked to negotiations on pay and conditions between the Fire Brigade Union and the UK employers.   He further advised that the new dedicated training and health & wellbeing facility was expected to be completed by the end of the year and an update would be presented to the next meeting. He mentioned that it would be worthwhile for Board members to visit the facility and that could be organised in due course. It was noted that Mr Scott Forbes had recently retired from the SFRS and the Board expressed their thanks for his contribution to the SFRS and the work of the Board. In response to questions, LSO Gourlay advised that SFRS were constantly reviewing and investing in its transport  fleet.   In terms of shift management, it was the intention to build a whole-time shift pattern of four days on and four day off as its core.


7.2       LSO Gourlay then presented the SFRS Local Plan Performance Report for the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, copies of which had been circulated with the Agenda.  In summary:


7.3       Reduction of ‘Dwelling Fires’ – There had been 100 dwelling fires recorded, an increase from nine the previous year.  A number of the incidents had been extinguished prior to SFRS attendance, highlighting the importance of early warning devices in reducing casualties.  


7.4       Reduction of ‘All fire casualties (fatal & non-fatal)’.  There had been 17 casualties over the period including one fatality.  In response to a question, LSO Gourlay explained the risk assessment process and the categorisation of properties into low, medium and high risk. He advised that partnership working was important to identify those at greatest risk from fire, which often resulted in cross agency referrals of joint home safety visits.   There were also additional audits carried out when national incidents occur.  For example, the Cameron House Hotel fire at Loch Lomond had resulted in risk assessments being refreshed for all similar types of premises.  With regard to compliance with fire safety regulations, LSO Gourlay advised that if a property did not comply with the required legislation, the SFRS would enforce compliance and ultimately could prohibit use of the premises.

7.5       Reduction of ‘All deliberate fires excluding dwellings’ - There had been 150 incidents during 2017/18, 40% of which occurred in the Galashiels and District Ward.  


7.4       Reduction of ‘Special Service - RTCs’ – There had been a 10% decrease from the previous year.  However, road traffic collisions within the Scottish Borders were still above the national average.  


7.5       Reduction of ‘Special Service Casualties – All’ – There had been 95 Special Service casualties during the period; an analysis of incidents was detailed in the report.


7.4       Reduction of ‘False Alarm – Equipment Failure’ – There were 885 unwanted firm alarm signals (UFAS) during the year, equipment failure accounted for 602 of these.  LSO Gourlay explained that there was a significant cost (approx £1,900.) associated with attendance at an UFAS.  Last year 56% of SFRS activity had been responding to UFASs of which 12% were from primary and secondary schools.   Although the SFRS had engaged with schools to attempt to resolve the issue, UFASs continued.  The SFRS were now considering an initiative that would reduce SFRS’s attendance at schools.  Schools would still be required to carry out a full evacuation, however educational disruption and road risk would be minimised.     The SFRS would be discussing their proposals with the Chief Executive and would update the Board at the next meeting.  In response to a question, Mr Girrity advised that responsibility for UFASs lay with the property owner.   


7.5       LSO Gourlay concluded by referring to SFRS partnership working, highlighting the success of the Drivewise initiative.   He also referred to a Staying Safe event which had been held at Hawick Fire Station.  The event had been successful, delivery medical advice, safety and CPR training, it was anticipated that this event would now be extended across the Scottish Borders.  


            The Chairman thanked LSO Gourlay and Group Manager Girrity for their attendance and report and noted their concerns around UFASs, particularly in relation to schools. 




(a)        The report;

(b)       The concern at the number of UFASs;

(c)        That an update on discussions on the proposals to minimise attendance at UFASs at schools be presented to the next meeting; and

(d)       An update on the new training facility would be provided at the next meeting. 


Supporting documents:



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