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Fire crews get support after Nithsdale incidents

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Fire crews get support after Nithsdale incidents

FIREFIGHTERS have received mental health support following several non-fire related fatalities while serving in Nithsdale last year.

Crews came across two deaths while supporting other emergency services in “special service incidents”, while they also assisted as a body was pulled from the River Nith.

These tragic incidents, and the impact they can have on the mental wellbeing of fire service personnel, were highlighted in the Scottish Fire Service performance report for Nithsdale.

The report, which covers April 1, 2023 until September 30, 2023, is due to be tabled at Nithsdale area committee next week.

Station commander Chris Ross, who prepared the report wrote: “Unfortunately, firefighters have attended two fatal incidents whilst assisting other agencies or attending other types of special service incidents.

“At any traumatic event, the incident commander will implement the post incident support procedure, this supports firefighters’ mental health and wellbeing, which is paramount.

“We respond alongside our SAS (Scottish Ambulance Service) colleagues to gain entry and assist as medical first responders, which can make all the difference in our more remote rural communities.”

He continued: “Our commitment to water rescue in Dumfries and Galloway is maintained with our water rescue assets at Newton Stewart and Dumfries.

“The Swift Water Rescue Team at Dumfries have been successful in rescuing four casualties from the River Nith, as well as unfortunately recovering one fatality.”

However, the update for the usual fire-related incidents was much more positive.

Station commander Ross described the performance report for April-September last year as “very encouraging”.

There was an overall reduction of 18 percent on the total number of incidents in Nithsdale.

There have been 12 percent fewer accidental dwelling fires, with zero fire fatalities and just one casualty with mild smoke inhalation.

However, the number of deliberate firesetting incidents jumped from 56 to 66, based on the same six-month period the previous year.

Day time hours, between 11 am and 10 pm, remain the busiest time for callouts locally.


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