Emergency Fire Control Statement

30th January 2014

The FBU have rightly opposed and campaigned against any cuts to front line posts in the Fire and Rescue Service. Our officials assisted by our members submitted a report to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Board for their consideration prior to its meeting on the 30th January in Dundee in response to the proposed closures of Emergency Fire Control Rooms. A meeting with Board members was held prior to the Board meeting to discuss the alternative proposals in the FBU report where the FBU outlined why our proposals more satisfactorily addressed the concerns of politicians, local communities and staff than the proposed reduction to 3 controls and also explained this could be provided within current projected costs. The information and FBU presentation was warmly welcomed by the Board. It was disappointing that the Board clearly felt constrained by their previous decision to reduce to 3 and were therefore unable to properly consider the FBU proposals. The Board have made a commitment to review the decision to reduce to 3 if evidence emerges that this new arrangement is not maintaining and improving on firefighter and community safety as intended. A number of emergency fire control members attended to observe the meeting which decided on their future.

FBU Organiser John Mc Fadden said "The closure of emergency fire controls will lead to the loss of skilled and experienced control staff and their crucial local knowledge which ensures an emergency response is dispatched quickly and accurately to often life threatening incidents. Our members are convinced that these changes will not lead to the improvements in community safety and service delivery that the public would expect to be the main driver for the changes. Our concern is that, the need to find savings to meet budget cuts, are in fact the main motive for these decisions. It is also concerning that no viable plan to retain sufficient staff with the key skills and local knowledge to maintain business as usual and transfer these essential components to the new arrangements is in place. This decision to reduce to 3 controls must be subject to ongoing monitoring and review and any decisions to proceed must be flexible enough to allow for an additional control to be retained in the North of Scotland as we, our members and concerned communities and politicians support and deem necessary ."

The FBU report ends with the following:

We urge the Board to maintain 2 Control rooms in the North Service Delivery Area in addition to 1 in the East Service Delivery Area and 1 in the West Service Delivery Area with appropriate numbers of trained Emergency Fire Control staff to allay the most serious concerns we and many concerned citizens and politicians have outlined.