Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today revealed figures indicating that the equivalent of 24 operational appliances are on average unavailable to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) due to staffing.
A freedom of information request from the Scottish Liberal Democrats to the SFRS revealed that across Scotland appliances were “unavailable due to staffing on an average of 3.83% of the time” across a 12 month period. This increases to 4.72% of the time across stations in the East service delivery area.
As of April 2018, the SFRS had 632 operational appliances including 417 pumping appliances (such as fire engines).
Mr McArthur commented:
“These figures indicate that at any time the equivalent of 24 fire and rescue service appliances are unavailable due to staffing.
“While people should be reassured that there weren’t any incidents that the SFRS failed to respond to, staff have expressed concern about having too few firefighters to staff its appliances. There have been reports of stations across Edinburgh being reduced from two to one engines and vehicles in Aberdeen being stood down.
“Since the SNP’s merger in 2013, the number of firefighters has fallen by hundreds and the service’s budget has dropped 12% in real terms. Staff representatives have warned that the funding squeeze will lead to more posts going and the deterioration of services.
“Our emergency services work incredibly hard and are faced with the most difficult of circumstances. Ministers need to ensure that staff have the resources they need to do their job, deploy the full range of appliances at their disposal and minimise the risks to both themselves and the public.”