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Emergency services / Astray fire engine a ‘very, very rare’ event

FIRE chiefs say a recent instance of an appliance arriving in the Tingwall area looking for a property which turned out to be three miles away was a rare event.

Shetland Central Moraig Lyall said the fire engine with sirens turned up near her house looking for a property at the end of last week.

Speaking at a meeting of the Shetland community safety and resilience board on Wednesday, the councillor said she went out to assist.

However, she said it appeared the property the fire fighters were looking for was about three miles away.

After being questioned if this was an unusual event, local fire chief Matt Mason said it was “very, very rare” and added that it did not add much time onto the call-out.

“That’s really not a common occurrence, that we don’t know where we are travelling,” he said.

However, Mason said in “remote and rural locations it does happen” occasionally.

Local senior officer for the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland Iain Macleod said mainland-based fire service call handlers use a gazetteer service for locations, which is in effect a sort of geographical encyclopaedia.

He added, though, that the information received by call handlers is the “most important thing” when fire fighters are dispatched.

Board chairman councillor Alastair Cooper said it was an “issue” and used the example of how there are various Sandwicks in Shetland.

“I think it’s true to say that it’s very rare that it does happen, but it does happen.”