Firefighters in Newton Stewart are among the first in Scotland to benefit from a £1.3million investment into new specialised kit for severe weather response.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is issuing new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits to every firefighter across the country – from Baltasound on Shetland to Drummore in Dumfries and Galloway, and everywhere in between.
The significant investment will strengthen resilience for frontline crews to respond to weather-related emergencies, such as flooding, while protecting traditional firefighting kit from risks such as damage and contamination.
The heavy-duty, PVC kits have already been introduced to 13 stations in each of the West, East and North Service Delivery Areas – including Banchory, Inverurie, Oldmeldrum, Altens, Braemar, Fochabers, Dreghorn, New Cumnock, Newton Stewart, Lockerbie, Peebles, Jedburgh and Eyemouth – and will soon be rolled out across the country.
This investment follows the devastation caused by Storm Frank in 2016, when hundreds of homes were evacuated and communities were left stranded as a result of unprecedented flooding across Scotland.
SFRS crews worked tirelessly for days following the storm, while providing enhanced resilience to ensure that fire and rescue cover was maintained during an extraordinary and extremely challenging period.
The introduction of the new PPE kit also follows a recent £5.2million investment into more than 2,200 new Breathing Apparatus (BA) sets – which has ensured that all crews across Scotland are now using identical BA equipment.
Iain Bushell is Deputy Chief Officer for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
He said: “Our firefighters are fully committed to keeping Scotland’s communities safe – and it is absolutely vital that they are given the correct tools and equipment to stand on the frontline during times of emergency.
“These impressive new PPE suits will keep firefighters warm and dry, while ensuring they can continue to work in the most challenging conditions to protect Scotland’s communities.
“This significant investment is also a necessary means to protect specialist firefighting kit, at a time when severe weather related flooding continues to pose a significant risk across Scotland.
“As we saw with the devastation caused by Storm Frank in 2016, severe weather conditions can present a wide variety of unique challenges for our crews to contend with.
“These new kits form part of an extensive and carefully planned strategy to enhance our arsenal of nationwide equipment, and will ensure that all firefighters can operate with greater ease across the former legacy boundaries to protect the public at times of significant emergency.
“This is yet another major step forward for our national service and I thoroughly commend all of those involved in this major project for their dedication in helping us build a safer Scotland.”