Scottish Fire and Rescue rebuffs claims

02 December 2015

The Fire Brigades Union has said that fire engines in Scotland are regularly unstaffed due to cuts to fire service budgets.

Stephen Thomson, Scottish Secretary of the FBU speaking to the BBC, said that of the six fire engines in Aberdeen, one was regularly unavailable for fire cover, and in the West of Scotland area four appliances were regularly removed from frontline availability.

On the situation in Aberdeen, Mr Thomson said: "There is a problem there because I think there is a lack of recruitment and also firefighters are leaving to go to the oil and gas industry that has led to significant shortages."

He added: "In the West of Scotland, the former Strathclyde region, there are regularly four frontline fire engines being removed from frontline availability.

"That has a different reason, that is simply because of overtime budget has been overspent so badly because the service believe they can't afford overtime - a different problem although the same outcome."

A spokesperson from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service rebuffed the claims, however, stating that: "There has never been a single occasion anywhere in the country when we have not responded to an incident with the required resources and that will continue."

The spokesperson added that at times secondary appliances could be taken "off the run" to allow firefighters assigned to them to crew the "primary appliances at stations affected by staffing shortages".

"The choice of which secondary appliances are placed 'off the run' takes account of strategic cover so that every community always remains fully protected."

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