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The decision to decrease the number of fire engines in the city that are equipped with turntable ladders has led to worries about public safety, but the fire chief of Edinburgh has allayed those fears.
The impact of having one fewer truck capable of reaching higher than four stories was described to stories members as being "minimal."
Residents, politicians, and union leaders are concerned that the removal of one from Crewe Toll fire station, leaving the capital with only two height rescue appliances, increases the risk of a fire for those residing on the upper floors of tall buildings.
Edinburgh Area Commander David Dourley said a Scotland-wide review of height appliances was initiated to address an "old, dated, and unreliable" fleet.
Speaking to the Culture and Communities Committee on Thursday, August 10, he announced that Crewe Toll's turntable ladder would move to Dunfermline to serve Fife, Falkirk, and West Lothian while maintaining the ability to be sent to Edinburgh in an emergency.
Mr. Dourley added that "modern and new" dedicated height appliances would still be stationed at McDonald Road and Tollcross fire stations.
"Crewe Toll is statistically the one mobilised the least," he said, "the other two are much busier appliances and are positioned strategically.
"Rescues from heights by a height appliance are very much a last resort and are very rare in nature. "The impact for the City of Edinburgh should be minimal, and we will still have access to that height appliance and bring it in from Dunfermline if it's needed.
"The evidence we've got from previous incidents and the data that is there indicates that the minimum impact on community safety determines we can have two height appliances to service the needs of Edinburgh city."
Hal Osler, Lib Dem councillor for Inverleith, which includes Crewe Toll, said there had been "a lot of disquiet" locally following the decision by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, which has to cut £11 million from its budget over the next year.
In a motion to the committee, she called on the council leader to establish the "full implications of this service change and what funding or other resources are needed to maintain current service and safety levels".
Fire Brigade Union (FBU) regional chair Gus Sproul said last month that the service was "in crisis already".
He said the move to relocate the height rescue appliance would "plunge us further into that crisis," adding: "The FBU is completely opposed to these cuts.
"The service will be stretched even thinner than we saw last year during the wildfires, when we ran out of fire engines and firefighters for the first time, certainly in my 23 years.
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21 February 2024
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19 February 2024