Environmental protection role for Scottish fire fighters

Fire and rescue services across Scotland have received funding for specialist equipment to help them deal with chemical spills and other environmental incidents.

Each of the country’s eight regional departments has now been provided with an Environmental Protection Unit thanks to the Scottish Executive which will allow them to play a greater role in aiding the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) in responding to incidents.

Positioned strategically across the country, the vehicles and equipment form part of the larger provision of specialist facilities available in the event of major flooding, chemical spillages or terrorist attack.

Each unit has been provided with flexi-dams, boom systems, chemical binders and pipe leak seals – all used to stop or control leaking or spillages of chemicals that could damage the environment.

High volume pumps which are capable of pumping up to 8,000 litres per minute and 3 kilometres of 250mm hose – five times more than a standard fire pump – have also been made available to remove flood water or supply fire pumps in the event of a major incident.

Colin Bayes, SEPA’s Director of Environmental Protection and Improvement, said: “Scotland’s natural environment is an essential part of our quality of life, supports much of the economy and needs and deserves the best possible protection. SEPA works closely with fire and rescue services to provide this and these units are a welcome and valuable addition to this partnership’s toolkit.”

David Wynne, Chief Fire Officers Association (Scotland) added: “This partnership is a natural coming together. All eight Scottish fire and rescue services are fully committed to playing their part in protecting Scotland’s national environment. The establishment of the Strategic Partnership with SEPA has enhanced significantly the fire services’ role and contribution to this commitment.’

Sam Bond

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