Glasgow art school shows we cannot be complacent about fire.
Firefighters have quite rightly been receiving praise over the weekend for their efforts in tackling the significant fire at the Glasgow School of Art. The response from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service emphasised the professional and dedicated service that the people of Scotland can rely on. Coming off of the back of a sizable and ongoing reduction in the SFRS budget an incident of this nature shows the folly of adopting a simple arithmetic approach to the provision of emergency response. Firefighter across Scotland have over the last few years made great inroads in driving down the risk to the population and have seen the number of fires in properties falling considerable. There is however no simple link between reduced operational activity and the ability to make cuts to the frontline. It remains vital to have access to a fully crewed, fully resources and fully trained service available to respond when it is needed.
Whether it is responding to the high profile incidents such as the Glasgow School of Arts or the Clutha bar; or responding to a house fire or other emergency it is essential that the SFRS maintains the frontline weight and speed of response that allows firefighter to protect our communities.
The GSA incident on Friday produced a magnificent response from those dealing with the incident, including the Command and Control Centre, the firefighters, the incident command structure and the specialist teams deployed. All worked extremely hard to save as much of the precious structure and property as possible.
John Duffy, Scottish Regional Secretary said, “ The crews were working under extreme conditions and were determined to save as much as possible. The salvage work done, even at the height of the incident helped save property that in some cases was irreplaceable as part of our heritage.”
The way the incident was resolved is attracting complements from those within the service. One senior and very experienced officer commenting that it was one of the best “stops” he had ever seen. John Duffy again commenting said, “The service is quite rightly attracting plaudits for how it conducted operations, but the highest praise you can get comes from your peers, so those who attended should be rightly proud of their efforts as their colleagues are impressed by what they achieved.