Local residents are being invoted along to a series of open meetings to discuss the fire service’s future
CRISIS-hit Highland fire chiefs are set to take to the road to listen to public opinion in an exercise that could shape the future of the brigade.
It comes after the end of a series of Fire Board meetings on Friday which have debated the shortcomings and future of the service.
Last year question marks were raised when the Highland News revealed a shocking catalogue of faults within HIFRS, including serious staff training issues and health and safety shortcomings.
This resulted in the matter being taking up by the Scottish Government in Holyrood, and a team of external fire service chiefs were called in to sort the problems out.
Now the embattled service says it needs to closely examine its arrangements for providing a fire and rescue service to communities.
The service is encouraging local residents to come along to the meetings and voice their opinions and debate how Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service goes forward.
In a statement, HIFRS said: “The service needs to closely examine its arrangements for providing a fire and rescue service to our communities. How that will finally look will vary from area to area and will, in some way, partly depend on the ability of individuals within the community to assist in making a fire station sustainable within a best value framework.”
Deputy Chief Fire Officers Stewart Edgar and Mike Holme will attend the meetings.
They said: “We would encourage all members of our communities to attend these events, where there will be an opportunity to discuss the future of the Fire & Rescue Service within the Highlands and Islands into the future”.
12 community events will be held during May and June in the following locations:
Inverness – May 8 at 1830hrs Assembly Hall, Charleston Academy
Stornoway – May 9 at 1830hrs Stornoway Fire Station
Portree – May 10 at 1830hrs Portree Fire Station
Aviemore – May 14 at 1830hrs Aviemore Community Hall
Kirkwall – May 21 at 1200hrs Kirkwall and St Ola Town Hall
Kirkwall – May 21 at 1830hrs Kirkwall and St Ola Town Hall
Lerwick – May 22 at 1830hrs Lerwick Fire Station
Lairg – May 23 at 1830hrs Lairg Community Centre
Thurso – May 23 at 1830hrs Thurso Fire Station
Fort William – May 28 at 1830hrs Fort William Fire Station
Benbecula – May 30 at 1830hrs Balivanich Community Hall
Golspie – June 14 at 1830hrs Golspie Community Centre