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Emergency services / Scatsta Airport to host fire training next week

It will be the first time this type of training has been carried out in Shetland

Scatsta Airport. Photo: Shetland News
Scatsta Airport closed to flights last year. Photo: Shetland News

SCATSTA Airport will be used next week to provide realistic, hands-on training for local fire fighters.

The set-up will replicate fire situations in both domestic homes and businesses, as well as road traffic collisions and chemical incidents.

It will be the first time this type of training – the incident command level one course – has been carried out in Shetland.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service course will begin on Monday (23 August) and it will run for five days.

Station commander Neil Gillespie said a total of eight fire fighters and five instructors will take part.

One key aim is to give the incident commanders the opportunity to hone their skills in command and control, and fire fighter safety, on the ground.

Previously fire fighters would have gone south to the likes of Inverness to carry out the training.

“It’s good to see there’s an investment in the local community, and it can only help improve our guys’ skills, which in turn helps the community out,” Gillespie.

Two new Shetland-based watch commanders who are involved in training will participate.

Gillespie said the fire service could have used the training facility at Sumburgh Airport but there was a desire to take officers away from a building they were familiar with.

One of the buildings at Scatsta, for example, is similar to an industrial unit, which could be used to replicate a garage, or a gas plant, Gillespie said.

“We’re trying to get the incident commander outside thinking about the risks and hazards.”

Folk driving by Scatsta should not expect to see fires at the airport, though.

“They may see some synthetic smoke, but we’re not going to be using real fires as such,” Gillespie said.

Scatsta closed as an airport last year and the space is available for other uses.

Meanwhile people have been advised that two fire driving instructors will be visiting Shetland next week to carry out training.

This means that there may be more fire appliances with blue lights on Shetland’s roads.