SOME FIRE crews in rural Shetland will soon benefit from high tech fire fighting equipment capable of blasting through solid concrete and steel.
The ultra high pressure lances – branded Coldcut – will enable crews to inject a fire suppressant through the wall of a burning building rather than having to enter the building to reach and extinguish the flames.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) introduced 40 brand-new and bespoke fire engines equipped with the new technology during a live demonstration in Aberdeen on Wednesday.
The new engines will be operational with a crew of just four fire fighters.
Bixter and Bressay are the first rural stations in Shetland to be equipped with the new engines later this year.
Community safety and resilience committee chairman councillor Alastair Cooper welcomed the news and said the new equipment would make fire fighting in rural Shetland more flexible.
"If we can make fire fighting work with fewer fire fighters then that is a good thing because so often stations in rural Shetland are off the run because of operational difficulties," he said.
"There are plenty of firemen in the evening and over night, but during the working day folk are away earning a living and therefore less available."
SFRS chief officer Alastair Hay said the new equipment represented a £7.6 million investment in the safety of the country's most rural and remote communities.
"This proven fire fighting technology means our crews can begin fire fighting within seconds of arriving by cutting straight to the heart of the fire.
"Retained and volunteer fire fighters are the most amazing people, dedicated to protecting their communities and it is right and proper that we provide them with the best tools for the job.
"The current operating model makes it difficult for us to ensure the availability of resources in rural areas.
"This new technology, combined with the state-of-the-art fire appliances and a more flexible crewing model will improve that availability – and create safer communities in the process."