This month FIRE profiles Grampian FRS, which claims to be a 'high-performing and highly-committed fire and rescue service'.

Grampian Fire and Rescue Service is one of eight services in Scotland. Service headquarters is in Aberdeen and the service area extends to around 9,400 kilometres squared across north east Scotland, serving the council areas of Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, and Moray.

There are five wholetime, 33 retained and one volunteer fire stations. The service area is a broad mix of urban, industrial, tourism, rural, forestry, fishing and residential and a population of around 530,000, rising to 850,000 in tourist season. Aberdeen has rebranded from the Oil Capital of Europe to become the Energy Capital of Europe with many alternative and sustainable energy companies operating alongside the mature oil industry.

The risk profile includes North Sea oil and gas pipeline landfalls, hydrocarbon processing plants, an international airport and two MOD bases, Europe's busiest heliport, a high-security prison, North Sea supply ports, significant industrial activity, Royal residences at Birkhall and Balmoral, and dozens of whisky distilleries and spirit bond warehouses.

The service staffing levels are around 350 wholetime, 450 retained and 30 control room personnel working alongside around 70 support staff.

Grampian is a service that punches well above its weight time and again, taking the Scottish national lead in a number of operational and non-operational areas and directly supporting every workstream in the very active CFOA Scotland organisation.

This profile focuses on just a few of Grampian's activities and will give a flavour of a high-performing and highly-committed fire and rescue service. More information can be had by contacting the service's media office by email at:


In pursuit of vehicle excellence with 'best operational fleet'

With a number of national award for its appliances, Grampian FRS proves it is leading the way with its unique white fire appliance fleet.

Grampian's white fire appliance fleet is still unique in Scotland and is one of only a very few in the UK that is not traditional red. The change to white began in 1998 following some research into road traffic safety and today Grampian's striking appliances are readily identifiable wherever they are.

Fleet Manager Raymond Cheyne has worked hard over a number of years to standardise vehicle type and build, as well as ensuring a consistent equipment layout in appliance lockers. Every firefighter in Grampian can be assured that they will always find, for example, a PPV fan and light portable pump in locker one, no matter which appliance they are crewing that day.

Raymond, who is also a Retained Crew Manager in Kintore in Aberdeenshire, said: "Grampian has an excellent vehicle fleet and that is partly because we procure appliances for specific need. Retained stations will receive a brand new appliance fit for purpose in the local area rather than relocating used machines from elsewhere."

This means that remote rural stations may get a compact appliance more suited for narrow roads and winding country lanes, while busy city stations are consistently equipped with Scania-chassis pumping appliances.

The service operates a number of specialised appliances including water rescue, forestry, height, damage control, flooding, hazmat, mass decontamination, urban search and rescue, incident command and crew welfare.

Despite some real improvements in road safety and RTC reduction over a number of years, the Grampian area has one of the highest annual records for RTCs in Scotland. To ensure the best possible response to this, every front-line pump is fully equipped with Lucas cutting gear and crews are trained in its use both at the service's training centre and at the local stations. Crews' competency in this area is regularly demonstrated at UKRO Extrication Challenge events where Grampian has collected awards as Scottish Champions, Best Medic, and been highly placed in trauma care.

The light vehicles - the fire safety cars, pool cars and vans - are all consistently branded with the Grampian Fire and Rescue Service name and are as identifiable as the appliances. Measures to reduce the environmental impact of the fleet have been going on for a number of years with retro-fitting of computer-controlled pumping on front-line appliances and Blue Motion features - including reduced emissions and automatic engine stop-start function - on cars and vans. Computer controlled pumping has a significant impact on at-incident noise and reduces fuel usage, wear and tear and is part of Grampian's carbon reduction plan.


National awards winner

The vehicles and equipment have won a number of national awards over the years, including Truckfest Scotland's 'Best Operational Appliance' award; however, due to the consistently high standard of appliances from Grampian the organising committee decided to present the trophy as 'Best Operational Fleet'. Judging of the appliances included all aspects of the vehicle as well as equipment stowage, type, fit for purpose, user friendliness and more. The appliances submitted were from between 1987 and 2000, such was Raymond's confidence in his fleet.

Raymond has also picked up the award for the Transport News Scottish Institute of Road Transport Engineer of the Year. An even older appliance, the service's Heritage Team's fully-functional 1915 Dennis Patent Fire Engine, received the 'Best Overall Appliance' award for the third year running.

The award-winning fleet and the highly-skilled team of mechanics that maintain it are one side of the coin. Ensuring the safe and skilful use of the vehicles is the responsibility of the in-house driver training team and Grampian's now well-developed 'Drive to Arrive' programme.

The pride in the vehicles and equipment that crews demonstrate, as well as the training that is given, has been so successful that the service's excellent driver safety record has seen the service's motor insurance premiums drop by 45 per cent this year. An excellent record.

See September issue of FIRE magazine for full report.


Posted August 19, 2011 at 1205 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: