Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Fire & Rescue - LSO David Farries

(Copy attached.)


5.1     LSO David Farries advised that the public consultation period had ended for the new Scottish Government Fire and Rescue Framework for Scotland.   Further, the public consultation on the SFRS Strategic Plan 2016-19 had closed on 9th August.   A new forum had been created at which the SFRS Board would meet at least twice yearly with COSLA, for information sharing purposes.  He referred to the service transformation agenda and the pilots which had taken place in the Scottish Borders.   Living Safely in the Home in the Cheviot Ward had proved successful so far and had already led to positive outcomes with 9 referrals being made by SFRS crews to occupational therapists for help with aids or adaptations to make living at home safer.   Out of hospital cardiac arrest attendances for SFRS continued at quite a pace and were now almost “business as usual” even although this work was still at a trial stage.  It was anticipated that due to the evolving nature of the safety advice SFRS were currently giving to members of the community in their homes the current “Home Fire Safety Visits” would at some stage become known as “Home Safety Visits”.       The TD1 youth initiative had ran a course across the school summer holidays and 6 young people from Galashiels had been presented with certificates after successfully completing the course. The relationships established with the young people would continue through a Role Model Mentoring program.  He advised the SFRS was committed to ensure there was a good level of training to make fire fighters safer and gave information on hot fire training facilities available for use at Dumfries and Thornton.  A portable training and entrapment unit was also located in Lauder to assist in training of crews in the Scottish Borders. The review of specialist equipment was coming to fruition with the impending removal of the high volume pump from Hawick.  This was being replaced with the swift water safety team.  The next retained duty system station visit for members would be at Peebles Fire Station on 17 January 2017.    


5.2    There had been circulated copies of the SFRS Performance Report covering the period 1 April to 30 June 2016.  In summarising the report, Group Manager A. Girrity advised that with regard to Priority 1: Reduction of Dwelling Fires, the SFRS had attended 21 dwelling fires in comparison to 34 for the same Year to Date (YTD) reporting period last year, this represented a 62% decrease.   Two of these fires had been started deliberately.   Cooking continued to be the most common cause accounting for nearly 60% of all accidental dwelling fires.   A quarter of these incidents involved persons 65 years of age or over.      Priority 2: Reduction in Fire Fatalities and Casualties, the report noted that there had been 3 fire related casualties in this YTD reporting period, Unfortunately, an adult female in Hawick had died in a fire fatality in April.   The other two casualties in this reporting period suffered slight smoke inhalation with one attending hospital as a precautionary measure. Priority 3:  There had been 32 deliberate fires in this YTD reporting period, a decrease of 12 in comparison to the same reporting period last year.   On a less positive note, comparison to the previous quarter showed an increase of 20 incidents of this type.   Over half of deliberate fires were started in Tweeddale East, Galashiels and Jedburgh districts collectively.   The majority of these incidents once again involved refuse, grass and woodland.   It would be reasonable to suggest that the quarterly increase could be attributed to the change in seasons and weather.   Priority 4: Reduction in Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs) indicated that the SFRS attended 30 RTCs, compared to 18 for the same reporting period last year.   There had been 38 RTC related casualties in this YTD period with four of these being fatalities.    The Service used Hydraulic Rescue Equipment on nine occasions during this YTD period to extricate casualties.  Priority 5 related to the Reduction of Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals and it was noted that there had been 190 Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals during this quarter, representing a decrease of 7 incidents compared to the same reporting period last year.


5.3    There had been circulated copies of the report on Prevention and Protection Activities.  In referring to home fire safety visits Group Manager Gourlay advised that 570 visits had been delivered during this reporting period and a breakdown of the delivery was provided by ward area as detailed in the report. He referred to the TD1 youth project and advised on another similar pilot scheme for Peebles High School.  The Community Action Team along with the SFRS Youth engagement team successfully delivered a Fire skills programme at Polmont Young Offenders Institute which involved 10 young people in June.   This was a direct response to work planned through the Community Justice priorities in the Scottish Borders.     Housing Association referrals total for this quarter was 113, which included those received from the Homelessness Service and Domestic Abuse Advocacy Service.     Group Manager Gourlay answered questions relating to referrals from Housing Associations and explained that information relating to fly tipping could be reported to Crime Stoppers.


5.4    There had been circulated copies of a report on the Local Fire Plan Development.   LSO Farries advised that the purpose of the report was to seek the Board’s views on the development of the next iteration of the Scottish Borders Local Fire Plan (the Plan).   He explained that the current, and first, Scottish Borders Local Fire Plan 2014-17 was approved through local scrutiny arrangements in March 2014.  The Plan was a 3 year plan and was due to expire at the end of March 2017, a copy of the plan was attached to the report.    In recognising that the Plan must reflect national organisational priorities and objectives and meet community needs and expectations, from a local perspective, there was a range of drivers which would support an argument to delay production of the next plan. The LSO recognised the need for SFRS to be fully engaged with the production of the LOIP in the Scottish Borders and highlighted a desire to encompass this work in the local Fire plan.  Taking into consideration the main drivers the Local Senior Officer for Midlothian, East Lothian & Scottish Borders proposed that the current Plan was extended until December 2017.  The extension of the Plan would allow a Plan development timeline to be adopted as follows:-


         (a)     Monitor and horizon scan emerging SFRS organisational, and external stakeholders, strategic priorities, objectives and plans (June -Dec 2016),


         (b)     Conduct in depth data analysis of local activity/incidents and emerging risks to inform local priorities and needs in the Scottish Borders area (Jan -March 2017),


         (c)     Engage with key stakeholders, partners and members of the community on first tranche priorities, objectives and expectations (April-June 2017),


         (d)     Develop new draft Plan for the Scottish Borders (May-July 2017),


         (e)     Consult with key stakeholders, partners and members of the community on the draft Plan (August -October 2017), and


         (f)     Submit draft Plan for the Scottish Borders for Council approval November – December 2017.



         (a)           NOTED the reports.              


 *      (b)           AGREED to recommend to Council that the current Scottish Borders Local Fire Plan be extended until December 2017 and to approve the proposed timeline for the production of the next Scottish Borders Local Fire Plan.


Supporting documents:



Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


For more Contact Details