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Emergency services / Fears over future of Fetlar fire station

But there is positive recruitment news elsewhere in Shetland

Photo: SFRS

THERE is concern over the long-term future of the fire station in Fetlar, which currently has no crew in place.

A meeting of Shetland’s community safety and resilience board heard on Monday that due to training commitments it could be around five years before an appropriate crew is back in place on the island.

Area commander Scott Gibson said: “Given the work we’ve done in Fetlar with community meetings and speaking to local residents, I think we’re going to find it difficult with the age demographic.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will consult on the future of the station in Fetlar, but the meeting heard the property and appliance will be maintained there in the meantime.

There will also be continued engagement with households and the community in Fetlar over the next 12 months.

However there was more positive news regarding availability and recruitment on the wider Shetland picture.

Following a recruitment campaign there are nine people who are set to join stations in Shetland.

This includes four in Scalloway, two in Bixter and fire fighters in Sumburgh, Fair Isle and Whalsay.

Board chairman Councillor Allison Duncan said it was the “best piece of news on recruitment since inception of this board” around a decade ago.

The fire service said crew availability figures were generally “quite good”, with Bixter, Bressay and Scalloway the only stations causing concern in addition to Fetlar.

For July to September Bixter, with four crew members, showed around 13 per cent availability.

In that period the figure for Scalloway (nine members) was 21 per cent, with Bressay (five members) sitting at around 27 per cent.

There was near 100 per cent availability for appliances in Brae and Lerwick, as well as Whalsay and Sandwick.

There was also high praise for a joint volunteer scheme with Police Scotland which is said to be providing youngsters with increased skills and self-confidence.

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In terms of property work continues on the longer term situation for some fire stations in Shetland which lack welfare facilities.

The service is looking at options like collaboration with other partners.

Some Portaloos have already been rolled out but a medium term solution could be a container style unit with shower and toilet facilities.

Longer term, work is ongoing on exploring the idea of a modular type fire station that is built off site.

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