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Emergency services / Fire service embarks on recruitment drive

New station commander Neil Gillespie also takes up post in Shetland

New station commander Neil Gillespie.

THE LOCAL fire service is running a fresh recruitment drive for retained firefighters across all 14 stations in Shetland.

A taster event will be held in Lerwick at 10am on 17 October ahead of preselection days in December.

Meanwhile, a new station commander for Shetland has been appointed to the fire service.

Neil Gillespie has brought with him nearly 25 years of experience in the fire service following his move north from Paisley.

There are two station commanders in the isles who split responsibility for Shetland’s 14 fire stations.

Gillespie, meanwhile, said all recruitment events will follow Covid-19 rules.

“We’re just opening our doors, and people can come along and we’ll give them a taste of what the pre selection tests entail, and what a career in the fire service will be like,” he said.

There are vacancies at all of Shetland’s fire stations, although numbers on the whole are good, he said.

Gillespie also believes the way the community has rallied around each other in response to Covid-19 could spur people on to apply to become a firefighter.

“With the amount of help that went on, with food parcels and folk offering to volunteer to drop food off to people…I know on the island there’s already that [here],” Gillespie said.

“I’ve only been up here near a month now, very quickly I’ve seen what a great community spirit there is up here. I think that with Covid it’s certainly impacted and raised that even more.

“I’m hoping to think that people will see the benefits of being integral to the community and being a retained firefighter can only help strengthen that.”

More information on becoming a retained firefighter can be found online.