A TURBULENT BUT REWARDING FIVE YEARS IN OFFICE
huge emotional response in me. You have to remember firefighters are people. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in the job a few months or 30 years, you have a human reaction.
“The first watch on the scene at George Square were the same that had attended the Clutha the year before. I can’t even begin to imagine the impact this had on these firefighters but they just kept going – consummate professionals as always. I’m so proud of them.”
Alasdair, who will be succeeded as Chief Fire Off icer by Martin Blunden in March, also praised the SFRS’s response to Storm Frank in December 2015.
He said: “Ballater after the storm looked like a scene from a hurricanehit Caribbean. The firefighters on the frontline would not come back in because there were more people at night are the safety of my staff and getting the job right.”
He added: “Creating a national service is the best thing that ever happened. It was founded on the need to save money.
“The Fire Service were in the middle of a huge financial crisis. If we had stayed as eight separate forces, I was afraid the savings were going to be made on the frontline. By creating a national service, it gave us the chance to stand up to the financial side of things.
“When I started out, there were 356 fire stations in Scotland and, five years on, there are still 356 fire stations, which is something I am very proud of.”
Alasdair, whose ambition once he retires is to get his golf handicap down to single figures, says the key to the Fire Service’s success in the
“Training firefighters to be first responders could help save hundreds of lives because crews will be able to keep people alive until paramedics take over.
“These are just some of the legacies that have been set into motion during my time as chief and, hopefully, the new chief will continue the journey.”
Alasdair, who lives in Dundee, added: “I’m proud to have been the first fire chief and I’m very grateful to have had the honour of working with such incredible people.”
INSPIRING Top, firefighter Jim Snedden rescues a little girl in the Med. Left, a baby is saved during the Cameron House Hotel fire and, above, Glasgow School of Art blaze. Far left, fire chief Alasdair Picture Jamie Williamson