New Scottish training facility begins construction

New Scottish training facility begins construction

THE SCOTTISH Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has now broken ground on the £12m training centre in Edinburgh.

The Edinburgh Reporter covered the groundbreaking for the new training centre, which will ‘boast the capacity and latest cutting edge technology’ in order to ‘train more than 1,600 frontline firefighters annually to respond to the most challenging incidents and protect people’. Over 60 nationwide community stations will be able to use the centre, which is ‘just one part’ of an ‘extensive SFRS training network’, in addition to the National Training Centre in Cambuslang.

At the launch, Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Anabelle Ewing took part in a turf cutting ceremony to mark the ‘first phase’ of construction, with the site located at SFRS’ east headquarters in the Newbridge area of the city. The plans were also welcomed by SFRS board chair Kirsty Darwent and chief fire officer Alasdair Hay, and the centre is scheduled to open in March 2019.

Among its offerings will be the ability to ‘simulate multi-vehicle road collisions’, as well as to ‘enable crews to hone specialist skills’ including urban search and rescue and rope rescue, and allowing firefighters to access the ‘very latest in firefighting technologies’. Other training areas will include teaching how to spot risks and minimise harm in local communities, as well as helping elderly and vulnerable people to ‘stay safe in their own homes’.

Mr Hay stated: ‘I am absolutely delighted to be here today to mark this major milestone. There can be no clearer indication of our commitment to both our communities and our firefighters than the significant investment in this new training facility. It will ensure that our firefighters are trained to work through some of the most hostile environments and disaster scenarios – and reach people at times of need – using the very latest simulation technology.

‘Today’s firefighter has to be properly trained and equipped to not only respond to our core duty but new and emerging risks such as terrorism and a growing elderly population increasingly calling on our support to stay safe. This is a momentous occasion as we continue to move forward in also harnessing the very latest firefighting technologies, setting the benchmark of a truly world class fire and rescue service.’

Annabelle Ewing added: ‘This state-of-the-art training facility will provide our firefighters in the East of Scotland with the vital skills they need to carry out their jobs safely and efficiently in the face of new and emerging threats to our communities. This year the Scottish Government increased the overall Scottish Fire and Rescue Service operational budget by £21.7 million, supporting investment in vital equipment and resources, and we have committed to increasing its spending capacity by £15.5 million in 2018/19.

‘This funding ensures our firefighters have the facilities and equipment they need to keep our communities safe. I am very pleased to see progress on the project and look forward to a return visit when it’s fully operational.’