Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Progress Reports/Updates on Service Matters - Fire & Rescue


There had been circulated copies of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Services (SFRS) Local Plan Performance Report.  Local Senior Officer (LSO) Gourlay began by explaining that Martin Blunden had been appointed as new Chief Officer, commencing his appointment on 16 February.   A Watch Manager had also been appointed to support five stations in the Berwickshire cluster.  Referring to the Newbridge training project, he advised that the facility would be completed on 18 March, with training commencing in May.  Regarding the SFRS transformation project, negotiations were still ongoing on the reinstatement of the Out of Hour’s Cardiac Arrest scheme. 


6.2       Group Manager (GM) Jaffray then presented the SFRS Local Plan Performance Report for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 December 2018, copies of which had been circulated with the agenda.  He firstly referred to the tragic minibus accident on 29 December, advising that the SFRS had attended and provided assistance.   The Board commended the work of the emergency services in response to this incident. 


6.3       Reduction of ‘Dwelling Fires’ – There had been 76 incidents, an increase of five compared to the same period last year, 11 of these were started deliberately.  Cooking still remained the main cause of incidents.  GM Jaffray highlighted the importance of smoke detectors, and that SFRS continued to target high risk groups in order to drive down fire risk within local communities. 


6.4       Reduction of ‘All Fire Casualties’ – There had been 12 casualties, two less than last year.  Seven casualties required hospital treatment for what was thought to be minor injuries, with first aid being given on all occasions by SFRS.


6.5       Reduction of  ‘All Deliberate Fires Excluding Dwellings’ –  There had been a welcome 25% decrease with 104 incidents recorded.  It was noted that this trend was below the rest of Scotland.


6.6       Reduction of ‘Special Service Road Traffic Collisions’ (RTC) -  The SFRS had attended 67 RTCs, a 3% increase compared to the same period last year.   GM Jaffray advised that they were receiving increased number of calls from the police and ambulance service which was positive, as the SFRS could assist with removing casualties from vehicles and making accident scenes safe.   


6.7       Reduction of ‘Special Service Casualties – All’  - There was 67 Special Service casualties during the reporting period, a 4% decrease in comparison to the same period last year. 


6.8       Responding to questions, GM Jaffray advised that Police Scotland considered road accident statistics when determining road accident prevention initiatives. .  The Board suggested that SFRS statistics should also be considered to promote necessary improvements to roads.  With regard to ‘Special Service Casualties’ GM Jaffray explained that ‘Hazmat’ referred to Incidents involving hazardous materials.   With regard to the high volume pump he advised that this had been deployed from Hawick to Dundee.    However, the SFRS still had access if required in the Scottish Borders and it had recently been on standby in Galashiels.   Hawick now had a dedicated Swift Water Rescue Team. The Chairman referred to the Scottish Government consultation on fireworks.  LSO Gourlay advised that legislation sat with Westminster.The SFRS’s view was for stricter legislation and a ban from public use unless appropriately risk assessed and licensed, an update would be provided to the Board following the consultation period.


6.9       GM Jaffray then went on to advise on Prevention and Protection Activities.  Copies of a report detailing figures from Quarter 1, October 2018 to 31 December 2018 had been circulated with the agenda.  GM Jaffray explained home fire safety visits had increased and highlighted the importance of partnership liaison to offer support to those most of risk of fire within their homes.  During the reporting period referrals had been received from:  MARAC, Domestic Abuse Advocacy Service (DAAS), British Red Cross, Housing Associations, NHS and Social Services.  GM Jaffray went on to advise of other work including the delivery of 55 Community Safety events, the continual success of Drivewise, and involvement in the Falls Strategy Review forum at Borders General Hospital.    With regard to future works streams, the SFRS continued to engage with those who managed properties and schools to look at various options to reduce the number of UFAS calls.  In response to a question regarding the relationship between the increase in fire safety visits and the reduction in fires. GM Jaffray advised that there might have been an impact, although analysis had not been carried out. 



Noted the report 


Supporting documents:



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