Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS; Scottish Gaelic: Seirbheis Smàlaidh agus Teasairginn na h-Alba) is the national fire and rescue service of Scotland.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
Seirbheis Smàlaidh agus Teasairginn na h-Alba
Operational area
Agency overview
Established1 April 2013 (1 April 2013)
Employees8,281 (2016)
Chief Fire OfficerMartin Blunden
Facilities and equipment

It was formed by the merger of eight regional fire services in the country on 1 April 2013. It thus became the largest fire brigade in the United Kingdom, surpassing the London Fire Brigade [1]


After a consultation,[2] the Scottish Government confirmed on 8 September 2011[3] that a single fire and rescue service would be created in Scotland to replace the eight existing services.

Following further consultation[4] on the detailed operation of the service, the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill was published on 17 January 2012.[5] After scrutiny and debate by the Scottish Parliament, the legislation was approved on 27 June 2012.[6] The Bill duly received royal assent as the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012. This Act also created Police Scotland in place of the previous eight regional police forces. The mergers were effective from 1 April 2013. Eight months after the consolidation, an internal report said the reorganisation had not negatively affected operational response.[7]

The service is headquartered in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, on the south-eastern outskirts of Glasgow, incorporating a national training centre, opened in January 2013. There are a further three service delivery centres in the east, west and north of the country.[8]


On 16 August 2012 the Scottish Government confirmed the first chief fire officer of the new service would be Alasdair Hay, then acting chief fire officer of Tayside Fire and Rescue Service, following an open recruitment exercise.[9]

Pat Watters, former president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, was also announced as chair of the service, an appointment to run for three years from September 2012.[10]

Members of the SFRS Board appointed in October 2012 were Watters, Bob Benson, James Campbell, Kirsty Darwent, Marieke Dwarshuis, Michael Foxley, Robin Iffla, Bill McQueen, Sid Patten, Neil Pirie, Martin Togneri and Grant Thoms.[11]

Chief Fire Officers


The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended 25,002 fires in 2014/15. The service also delivers a preventative programme, with 65,343 free home fire safety visits conducted in 2015/16.[12]

As well as fighting fires, the service attends tens of thousands of specialist services such as road traffic collisions, water rescues and flooding incidents. In 2014/15 it attended 10,740 non-fire incidents.[12]

Water rescue

The Service is the primary emergency service for the rescue of persons from the River Clyde in Glasgow. The service has a fleet of 4 rescue boats stationed at various points downstream of the tidal weir and works closely with the Glasgow Humane Society and other agencies. The service works alongside other emergency services during flooding events to ensure the safety of communities and rescue people in difficulty, with specialist swift water rescue teams positioned on major waterways and areas of activity. Firefighters are routinely called out to water, flood and boat rescues. For example, during Storm Frank in December 2015 the SFRS received 350 flood related calls in the space of six days.[13]


In 2015 the SFRS were called out to 78 wildfire incidents in total, with over half of those taking place in the north of Scotland.[12]

Medical emergencies

In 2015 a national trial was launched, in partnership with the Scottish Ambulance Service, which has seen firefighters at certain stations receive enhanced CPR training aimed at increasing survival rates for people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.[14]


As of March 2016, the SFRS operates 356 stations throughout Scotland. Stations are split into three categories:

  • Wholetime: A station with full-time firefighters.
  • Retained: Part-time, on a call-out basis and predominantly based in some of the more rural areas of Scotland.
  • Volunteer: On a call-out basis and predominantly based in some of the more remote villages and islands.

The most northerly station is Baltasound on the Shetland Islands. The most southerly is a volunteer station in the village of Drummore in Dumfries and Galloway.

National Training Centre

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service National Training Centre opened in January 2013. The facility in Cambuslang features a mock town with realistic motorways, railway tracks and buildings, including a multi-storey tenement structure.[15]


The following services were merged to create the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service:

The number of control rooms handling 999 calls was also reduced from eight to three.

The consolidation of regional call centres has reportedly resulted in a number of dispatching errors. For example, in December 2016 a crew from Raasay was mobilised to an incident on Skye – a journey that would have required taking their fire engine on a ferry – despite an alternative crew being able to reach Skye directly via a road bridge. On another occasion, a crew from Beauly was sent to a blaze 10 miles away in Dingwall as the dispatcher was allegedly unaware Dingwall had its own fire station.[16]

See also


  1. "Who we are". London Fire Brigade. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2014. LFB employs approximately 7,000 staff of which 5,800 are operational firefighters and officers
  2. Research report on consultation 15 September 2011 -
  3. Scottish Government news release 8 September 2011 -
  4. Research report on consultation 16 December 2011 -
  5. Scottish Government news release 17 January 2012 -
  6. Scottish Government news release 27 June 2012 -
  7. "Praise after fire service merger". The Herald. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  8. "Your Area". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 6 January 2017. three service delivery HQs
  9. "Alasdair Hay named as new chief for merged Scottish fire service". BBC News. 16 August 2012.
  10. "First new Police Authority and Fire Service chairmen appointed". BBC News. 31 August 2012.
  11. "Scottish Fire and Rescue Service" (Press release). Scottish Government. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  12. "Fire & Rescue Statistics 2014-15" (PDF). 15 December 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  13. Hannan, Martin (6 January 2016). "Fire crews worked 'flat out' after the flood devastation". The National. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  14. "Firefighters to respond to cardiac arrest cases". BBC News. 29 October 2015.
  15. "New fire training centre simulates burning buildings and train crashes". STV News. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  16. "All at sea". Private Eye. London: Pressdram Ltd. 10 February 2017.
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