The new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service should be a champion and co-coordinator of specialist rescue across Scotland according to HM Chief Inspector of Fire and Rescue Authorities Steven Torrie.

The recommendation is one of a series contained in the Galston Mine Incident Inquiry Report submitted to Scottish Ministers today.

The report provides an independent assessment of the circumstances surrounding the death of Alison Hume who fell down a disused mine shaft in Galston on 26th July 2008, and makes recommendations to minimise the risk of a similar incident occurring in the future.

The Inquiry, which was ordered by the Scottish Government in November 2011 following a Fatal Accident Inquiry by Sheriff Leslie into Mrs Hume's death, recommends actions for the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service scheduled to be introduced in 2013, and also recommendations for the new Fire and Rescue Framework.


These include:

  • That the Scottish Government should set out an expectation that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service acts as a champion and coordinator of specialist rescue;
  • That the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service improves the way it plans for specialist rescue incidents which would help to support operational officers who are faced with unusual and challenging incidents.
  • That the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service should carry out an audit of operational command training examining, in particular, risk-critical decision making in unusual and hard to define circumstances.

Mr Torrie said: "The starting point of this Inquiry was the Determination made by Sheriff Leslie at the conclusion of the Fatal Accident Inquiry. My role was to examine the factors influencing the overall timescale of the rescue of Alison Hume and assess whether those factors have been translated into lessons learned since her tragic death.

"The incident was complex and dangerous and beyond the experience of any of the emergency service personnel who attended. While it is clear that progress has been made by Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service since the Galston Mine Incident it is also clear that there are lessons to be learned as we move towards a single service.

"Out of this tragedy, there is an opportunity to address the growing risk aversion across the fire and rescue service, to properly support emergency responders who are faced with difficult challenges and to build a first class planning and response to specialist rescue incidents across the country."

The Galston Mine Incident Public Inquiry Report is available to download from the Scottish Government's Publications website 


Posted March 29th, 2012 at 1545 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: