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Scotland sees slight dip in wholetime operational firefighters


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Scottish Fire and Rescue Service shares latest fire safety statistics

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has released its latest Fire Safety and Organisational Statistics.

This comprehensive annual report is now accessible in the ‘About Us’ section on their official website.

The figures indicate that the SFRS currently employs over 7,600 individuals.

A notable point from the report highlights a one percent decrease in the number of wholetime operational firefighters from 3,530 in the previous year to 3,490 in 2022-23.

Challenges and strides in recruitment and diversity in Scotland’s fire service

Liz Barnes, SFRS Interim Deputy Chief Officer and Director of People, commented on the statistics: “The longer-term picture shows an overall decrease in wholetime firefighters.

“This is attributed to various factors like streamlining of services, standardisation of duty patterns, retirements, and more.”

She continued: “We maintain a policy of consistent recruitment, especially in areas of utmost need in Scotland.

The growth in the number of wholetime trainees last year is a positive sign.”

Although recruiting on-call firefighters in remote areas remains a challenge, the reduction remains under one percent for this group.

On the brighter side, since 2017-18, the female wholetime operational staff count has surged from 175 to 227.

DCO Barnes noted: “Over the past five years, the female wholetime staff number has jumped by nearly a third.

“We’re committed to enhancing diversity in our team.”

Concerns rise over attacks on personnel

Another concerning point in the report states that attacks on personnel, mainly verbal, have seen an increase from 76 to 80 year-on-year.

Additionally, there’s been a ten percent spike in objects being hurled at firefighters and their appliances.

DCO Barnes remarked: “Attacks on any emergency service workers are condemnable.
It’s crucial for our teams to resolve emergencies without facing such challenges.

“We’ll continue to partner with Police Scotland, aiming to not just apprehend the culprits but also to increase community awareness regarding the detrimental effects of these assaults.”

Emphasis on fire prevention in Scotland

Fire prevention remains an integral part of SFRS’s responsibilities.

The significance of Home Fire Safety Visits, targeted towards vulnerable residents, is underscored in the report.

In the last half-decade, one in every twelve Scottish households has received tailored safety advice.

This translates to over 38,000 visits in just the past year.

IFSJ Comment

The recent statistics published by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service shed light on the evolving landscape of fire safety in Scotland.

The fluctuations in staff numbers, the commitment to diversity, and the ever-important issue of fire prevention, especially in vulnerable communities, are all points of considerable relevance.

The increase in attacks on personnel underscores the challenges faced by these brave individuals daily.

As professionals in this sector, understanding these trends and numbers is vital to gauge the progress and areas of focus in fire safety internationally.

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