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Fresh appeal for Fetlar fire fighters

A FRESH appeal has been made for people to consider becoming retained fire fighters in Fetlar after appliances from neighbouring Unst and Yell had to attend a house fire on the island earlier this week.

The fire could only be extinguished several hours after the alarm was raised after council ferries were tasked to take appliances from the nearby islands to Fetlar. A man was treated for smoke inhalation.

The local Fetlar appliance was unable to respond as there is a minimum number of fire fighters needed to operate emergency cover.

The island, which has a population of around 60, has historically had difficulty in recruiting retained fire fighters. Between July and September last year only one person was on the books.

There had high hopes for the station back in 2013 when three new recruits signed up, ending several months of closure.

Group manager at Lerwick fire station Myles Murray said Tuesday’s fire reiterated the important role crews play in the North Isles.

He also encouraged anyone considering becoming a retained fire fighter in Fetlar to come forward.

“Recruiting remains a challenge for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and on Fetlar we require a further three retained crew members to safely operate the island’s fire appliance to provide emergency cover,” Murray said.

“However despite extensive efforts and public appeals people are not coming forward and that is clearly a concern for us.

“We are now looking into future solutions that are more responsive and flexible to the needs of rural and island areas while maintaining community and fire fighter safety.

“Anyone who is interested in becoming a retained fire fighter, providing a service for the community by the community, can access information on our website or contact their local fire station.”

More information on becoming a retained fire fighter can be found online.