International fire experts outlined the need for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to transform – and overcome modern threats.

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The Scottish Fire Symposium 2017

Symposium

INTERNATIONAL fire experts outlined the need for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to transform – and overcome modern threats.

The advice was given today (Tues) during the Scottish Fire Symposium 2017 at the SFRS headquarters in Cambuslang.

Annabelle Ewing, minister for community safety, echoed the call as she stressed the changing nature of risk in Scotland and the increasing financial pressures facing the SFRS.

Jim Pauley, President of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), addressed Chief Officer Alasdair Hay as he spoke to the global fire community.

He said: “Your workload is increasing – fire is not the only threat anymore.

“Firefighters are now dealing with extreme weather, terror attacks, hazmat incidents and we are seeing these incidents become more frequent and more intense.

“Policy makers demand you do more and in today’s world you have to do that with less.

“That means we have to be more efficient than we used to - and work differently to the ways we did in the past.”

Mrs Ewing added: “The SFRS is widely regarded as having been a great success and is actively investing in its future.

“Having gone through reform the next phase is looking at what we can do in terms of transformation.

"We need to see transformation due to the pressures of budgets and changing risk such as fewer fires but increased threat of terrorism and flooding.

“There is a real opportunity to explore opportunities where the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service can add value.”

Ms Ewing also talked about harnessing the public trust of the SFRS to add greater value across the public sector in areas including out of hospital cardiac arrest.

The calls for transformation were met with nods of agreement from safety experts and fire chiefs from Canada, the United States and elsewhere in the UK.

Other topics discussed at the safety conference included firefighter safety, engaging with young people to tackle anti-social behaviour and overcoming modern threats such as terrorism.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Chief Officer Alasdair Hay added: “The aspiration is for the SFRS to be genuinely world class.

“There are individuals from services within this room who have embraced new technologies and techniques that help frontline staff be even more effective as they face up to the challenges of the 21st Century.

“We can’t forget that we are a public service - designed for and used by the communities who depend on them.”

The event was coordinated by ACO Robert Scott - the only European board member of the NFPA.

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