New water rescue unit launched at Oban

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 Water rescue unit 1

A team of specialist firefighters at Oban are the latest to have been trained and equipped to stand on the front line during severe weather related flooding.

The highly-skilled water rescue unit will also work to protect the community and assist emergency service partners at the various rivers, lochs and stretches of open water across Argyll and Bute.

As a result, Oban Community Fire Station is now officially the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s latest water rescue unit – following 18 months of intensive planning and training undertaken locally and nationally as part of the Review of Specialist Equipment (ROSE).

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Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay is the SFRS’ Director of Response and Resilience.

He said: “I am delighted to officially announce 

the introduction of the water rescue unit to Oban, which represents the culmination of some serious planning, hard work and effort.

“We have trained and equipped these firefighters to the same standard as crews across the country to ensure that they can respond to some of the most dynamic and challenging emergencies.

“We absolutely have to prepare for increasing instances of extreme weather-related flooding in order to respond quickly to protect Scotland’s communities.

“The crew here at Oban are now part of an outstanding national water rescue capability which we can call upon to do just that.”

The water rescue unit is capable of conducting rescues in shallow, deep, moving and standing bodies of water.

Amongst their arsenal of specialist equipment is motorised boats, inflatable sleds for casualty recovery and specialist training which gives them an unparalleled ability to conduct rescues in potentially dangerous and difficult environments.

Jim McNeil (below) is the Scottish Fire and Rescue's Local Senior Officer for Argyll and Bute and East and West Dunbartonshire.

Jim McNeil, LSO

He said: “This launch of our water rescue capability is excellent news for the communities of Argyll and Bute.

“Our capability to respond to water rescue and flooding incidents across the region has undoubtedly been enhanced.

“Oban and the wider Argyll and Bute area has seen its fair share of extreme weather and flooding in recent years.

“This new asset will allow us to combat such extreme weather with renewed confidence and to serve communities to the very best of our abilities.

“Despite our best preventative work, people can and do get into difficulty in water, and we must stand ready to assist them.”

Anyone who is looking for information on how to stay safe around Scotland’s waterways, please visit