Partnership working celebrated as new Aberdeenshire fire and rescue plan approved

The success of closer working between the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and local councils was celebrated as the emergency service’s new plan for Aberdeenshire was approved.

The Aberdeenshire Local Fire and Rescue Plan 2017-20 was brought before Aberdeenshire Council’s Communities Committee last Thursday (Thu, Nov 9).

Local Senior Officer (LSO) for Aberdeenshire and Moray David Rout told councillors it was developed following a ‘detailed, analytical assessment’ of the current plan for the area, and through consultation with the public via the Aberdeenshire Citizens Panel.

As well as highlighting the local and national priorities for the service and how performance will be measured, the plan focuses on six local priorities for Aberdeenshire:

• Unintentional Harm and Home Safety
• Non-Fire Emergencies
• Deliberate Fire Setting
• Non-Domestic Fire Safety
• Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals
• Emergency Response and Community Resilience

LSO Rout said: “The Local Fire and Rescue Plan for Aberdeenshire sets out our priorities for addressing local needs and circumstances and I’m delighted that the elected members at the Communities Committee have given it their full support.”

The importance of partnership working runs throughout the Aberdeenshire fire and rescue plan, with the sharing of information between agencies and targeting resources at areas of greatest need being the key principles that will contribute to improving the overall safety and wellbeing of communities in Aberdeenshire.

Emphasising the importance of partnership working, LSO Rout added: “The SFRS does not operate in isolation and the plan supports the crucial role of community planning in helping to deliver the ambitions of the Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership through its Local Outcome Improvement Plan.

As well as the core duties of the SFRS, the committee went on to discuss how the service would support the community planning partnership’s aims of reducing child poverty, tackling alcohol issues, and the creation of ‘connected and cohesive’ communities.

The service’s involvement in road safety initiatives such as Safe Drive Stay Alive and Crash Live was also highlighted, and the committee heard of the service’s focus on recruitment and retention and increasing the number of female employees.

Following approval of the new plan, Communities Committee chair Cllr Anne Stirling paid tribute to LSO Rout, who is due to retire from the service.

She said: “David should be very proud indeed, as should the service, of his approach to partnership working, both through the council and the Aberdeenshire Community Planning Board.

“David has always been constructive and allowed the relationship to be the best it’s ever been. His leadership has created a legacy of professional service that has served the communities of Aberdeenshire very well.”

Cllr Stirling added that the committee looked forward to monitoring the implementation of the plan and achieving positive outcomes for residents in Aberdeenshire.

Also in attendance was Pat Watters, chair of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Board, who spoke of the national approach to forward planning and the changing shape of the service.

He described how the risks faced by the service are much different than they were 10-15 years ago, and how planning for the future involves careful consideration of new technology and targeting services to the particular needs of communities.

“We’re a national service that deliver our services locally,” he said. “We’re just at the start of a very exciting time for the service.”

The Aberdeenshire Local Fire and Rescue Plan 2017-20 can be found via www.committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk