Water rescue unit launched in Dumfries

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Dumfries Fire Station is now officially the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s twentieth water rescue unit.

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A team of specialist firefighters at Dumfries are the latest to have been trained and equipped to stand on the front line during severe weather related flooding.

The highly-skilled water rescue unit will be able to respond to this new and emerging risk which affected communities across Scotland during Storm Frank in 2015.

And the crew will also be able to assist those who find themselves in difficulty at the various rivers, lochs and stretches of open water across Dumfries and Galloway.

As a result, Dumfries Fire Station is now officially the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s twentieth water rescue unit - following 18 months of intensive planning and training undertaken locally and nationally as part of the Review of Specialist Equipment (ROSE).

Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay is the SFRS’ Director of Response and Resilience.
He said: “I am delighted to officially announce the strategic relocation of our twentieth water rescue unit to Dumfries. This represents the culmination of some serious planning, hard work and effort.

“We have trained and equipped these firefighters to the same standard as crews across the country to ensure that they can respond to some of the most dynamic and challenging incidents of the very calibre that we witnessed during Storm Frank.

“We absolutely have to prepare for increasing instances of extreme weather-related flooding in order to respond quickly to protect Scotland’s communities.

“The crew here at Dumfries and the water rescue unit at Newton Stewart are now part of an outstanding national water rescue capability which we can call upon to do just that.”

The Water Rescue unit, relocated from the retained Annan Community Fire Station, is capable of conducting rescues in shallow, deep, moving and standing bodies of water.

Amongst their arsenal of specialist equipment is motorised boats, inflatable sleds for casualty recovery and specialist training which gives them an unparalleled ability to conduct rescues in potentially dangerous and difficult environments.

Hamish McGhie is the Local Senior Officer (LSO) for Dumfries and Galloway.

He said: “This strategic relocation of our water rescue capability is excellent news for the communities of Dumfries and Galloway. Our capability to respond to water rescue and flooding incidents across the region has undoubtedly been enhanced.

“We saw how rapidly flood waters can rise when Newton Stewart was left devastated – we must be ready to act just as quickly to this emerging risk.

 “Additionally, in the summer we do see an influx of tourists and locals looking to make the most of the area’s bountiful and beautiful waterways, lochs and rivers.

“Despite our best preventative work, people can and do get into difficulty in water, and we must stand ready to assist them.”

Anyone who is looking for information on how to stay safe around Scotland’s waterways, please visit www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/water-safety

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