Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

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

Update on Service and Operational Matters.


Performance Report. (Copy attached).


LSO Stephen Gourlay.


With reference to paragraph 6 of the Minute of 7 February 2020, Local Senior Officer Gourlay began by advising that Bonfire night in the Scottish Borders had been quiet with no concerns.  In terms of SFRS response during the pandemic, one member of staff had developed the virus which meant that an entire Watch had to self-isolate.   The Watch staffing was covered and it had not affected SFRS response.   LSO Gourlay advised that development of the SFRS Local Plan would be deferred and a draft would be presented to the Board early next year to dovetail with Scottish Borders Council’s Community Plan.    The new domestic smoke detection standard was likely to be delayed by a year, subject to Scottish Government decision.  LSO Gourlay asked that if any Board members had any questions relating to service delivery that he be contacted direct as this would enable a quicker response.  LSO Gourlay concluded his report by advising that the rural full time Watch Commander for the Hawick cluster would commence in January, interviews were taking place remotely the following week.


            Group Commander (CG) Jaffray then presented the SFRS Local Plan Performance report for the period 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020, copies of which had been circulated with the agenda.   GC Jaffray summarised that there had been a slight increase to 38 in dwelling fires from the previous year;  61% of these originated in the kitchen, with 29% involving cooking appliances.  There had also been an increase to nine of fire related casualties.  There had been no fire fatalities during the period.  GC Gourlay explained that Road Traffic Collisions had decreased due to Covid-19 restrictions which had meant less traffic on roads.  It was anticipated this figure would unfortunately increase as restrictions were lifted.   Deliberate Fire Setting had also decreased in the period to 79; many of the fires were attributable to anti-social behaviour.   There had also been a reduction in special service categories from 42 the previous year.   Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals (UFAS) had also decreased, although still an area of concern.   In response to a question regarding UFAS caused by equipment failure, GC Jaffray advised that when fire crews attended a UFAS they categorised the failure in order that they could tailor advice to duty holders to alleviate any problems.  There was also a UFAS champion who analysed incidents for trends.  However, no specific cause or premises had been identified.   CG Jaffray acknowledged that 13% of UFAS related to educational premises and the SFRS were available to work with the Council to drive down incidents. 


GC Jaffray then went on to discuss the SFRS Prevention and Protection activities for Quarter 2 (1 July to 30 September 2020).  He explained that fire safety audits had now recommenced with officers now visiting premises.  Care homes were still an area they were unable to visit but advice was given over the telephone.   Fire home safety visits had also been introduced and focused on high risk individuals referred from partnership referrals. Eleven visits had been carried out during the period.  GC Gourlay explained the new safety standards to be introduced to reduce the risks of fires in domestic properties, a date for introduction was awaited from Scottish Government.   It was noted that registered social landlords were working on delivering the standards to their properties and hoping to retain the 2021 target deadline.  CG Gourlay concluded by advising that youth engagement had also been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.  However, advice was provided through social media.  As a result of pausing youth engagement, TD1 was to receive a grant from the SFRS to support the work they did.   The Chairman thanked LSO Gourlay and GC Jaffray for their informative reports.  This was GC Jaffray’s last meeting and he thanked him for his attendance at meetings and wished him well for his retirement.



NOTED the report.


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