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Operational Changes 2023-24

We are making a series of operational changes during 2023-2024. Some of these are planned changes to help us modernise our emergency service while others are necessary to help meet immediate financial challenges.

As a Service we have a legal obligation to deliver a balanced budget and our current planning shows that we must make at least £36 million in savings over the next four years to meet the financial challenges outlined in the Scottish Government's Resource Spending Review. This includes £11 million during this financial year.

We have released an information pack which details the changes and the data which has underpinned the decision-making process.

Changes at a Glance

Temporary 2nd or 3rd Appliance Withdrawal

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Every day across Scotland we have to take wholetime appliances “off the run” – that is make them temporarily unavailable. 

This can be for many reasons including staff turnover, planned training, staff absence and lack of relevant skills.

Last year for example, we had to take an average of 9 pumps off during day shifts; and an average of 8 pumps during night shifts.

To ease this pressure, and create immediate financial savings, we identified ten fire stations where we can temporarily remove a 2nd or 3rd wholetime appliance while having the least impact on response time benchmarks.

High Reach Appliance Strategy

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High Reach Appliances (HRAs) are specialist appliances that can tackle fires or rescues from heights. These are national assets which are strategically placed to cover the whole of Scotland based on risk and demand.

We needed to review HRA provision across Scotland to ensure a more even distribution and remove older vehicles which cost a lot to maintain.

This year we will reduce our number of HRAs from 26 to 16, which will also help reduce our capital (financial) backlog. We will then reduce this number to 14.

Some will be replaced by standard appliances and others removed based on provision of another HRA within a reasonable distance.

Standardisation of Water Rescue


There are four dedicated Clyde Rescue Boats in Glasgow moored at all times on the River Clyde.

These resources are crewed by personnel from Polmadie and Knightswood Community Fire Stations.

Polmadie is the only station in Scotland with a dedicated crewing model for water rescue.

From September we are standardising the crewing model at Polmadie to a dual-crewed approach. This means crews will be able to attend other emergency incidents.

The Clyde Rescue Boats will remain as a dedicated resource on the River Clyde.