Hec­tic night for fire crews

Hun­dreds of calls made

Hamilton Advertiser - - POLITICS - Ste­fanie Mc­court

Fifty emer­gency calls were made to the Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice on Guy Fawkes Night in South La­nark­shire alone.

Op­er­a­tions con­trol staff across Scot­land han­dled more than 800 calls be­tween 5pm and 10pm on Sun­day, with fire­fight­ers re­spond­ing to around 330 bon­fires through­out the coun­try – 19 of which were in South La­nark­shire.

The cel­e­bra­tions were yet again marred by a num­ber of at­tacks on fire­fight­ers in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions, with crews faced with mis­siles and fire­works be­ing thrown at them on a re­ported 11 oc­ca­sions coun­try-wide.

In South La­nark­shire, one such in­ci­dent took place – in the Ruther­glen area – with an ap­pli­ance com­ing un­der at­tack by a group of youths while at­tend­ing a bon­fire.

As­sis­tant Chief Of­fi­cer Lewis Ram­say, SFRS’S Di­rec­tor of Re­sponse and Re­silience, said: “At­tacks on emer­gency re­spon­ders are com­pletely un­ac­cept­able and I am sure the pub­lic would be out­raged by in­ci­dents where their fire­fight­ers have been tar­geted while work­ing to pro­tect peo­ple and prop­erty.

“This type of be­hav­iour not only pre­vents our crews from bring­ing any emer­gency to a safe and swift con­clu­sion but it can im­pact on our emer­gency ser­vice col­leagues in­clud­ing the po­lice when they have to es­cort us at the scene. This can­not be con­doned. The com­mu­ni­ties of Scot­land are all fan­tas­tic and they ap­pre­ci­ate greatly the work of the fire ser­vice, and we would urge the ma­jor­ity of law-abid­ing res­i­dents to alert the po­lice to any such reck­less ac­tiv­ity.

“We will also work to iden­tify those re­spon­si­ble and we will pass that in­tel­li­gence to our po­lice part­ners which can re­sult in a va­ri­ety of con­se­quences - and po­ten­tially af­fect fu­ture em­ploy­ment prospects.”

He added: “Bon­fire Night is typ­i­cally the ser­vice’s busiest night of the year, but in ad­di­tion to nu­mer­ous bon­fires fire­fight­ers con­tinue to re­spond to the full range of emer­gen­cies we face on a daily ba­sis.

“Our front­line crews and Op­er­a­tions Con­trol per­son­nel are ex­tremely ded­i­cated and I would like to pay trib­ute to their pro­fes­sion­al­ism, skill and hard work which en­abled them to help pro­tect com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try.”

SFRS had ap­pealed to the pub­lic to at­tend or­gan­ised events rather than do-it-your­self fire­works dis­plays or il­le­gal bon­fires.

Thou­sands of peo­ple de­scended on Strath­clyde Park on Sun­day night to watch the an­nual dis­play that is jointly put on by North and South La­nark­shire Coun­cils.

Hun­dreds more chose to avoid the traf­fic re­stric­tions sur­round­ing Strath­clyde Park and viewed the dis­play from Chatel­her­ault Coun­try Park.

Hamil­ton Ac­cies also staged a fire­works dis­play.

Bon­fire Night is the ser­vice’s busiest night

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