Do you have access to a boat or an all-terrain vehicle? Then you might be able to help with an innovative new project which has seen members of rural communities working with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).
The Community Asset Register (CAR) contains a list of volunteers with access to boats or 4x4s join a register, allowing the SFRS to quickly identify who can help in an emergency.
A rallying call has now been issued to others who live in rural and isolated areas, have specialist skills and who own their own transport - such as all-terrain vehicles - to follow in their footsteps.
People with buildings that can offer a temporary base to emergency personnel or warmth and shelter to displaced members of the community are also welcomed.
Bruce Farquharson is the Area Manager who has led this project. He said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service exists to save lives and will always respond to every emergency with the right resources, in the right place - at the right time.
“But we always look for new and innovative, dynamic but nonetheless appropriate partnerships wherever possible to absolutely ensure the safety of our communities.
“The Community Asset Register is yet another example of this spirit, calling upon those with specialist skills, vehicles and equipment to work alongside ourselves to keep people safe – because sometimes minutes can be not only precious but vital.
“The ideal person is someone who is experienced and knowledgeable in their field and handling their equipment. We are talking about, for example, white water rafters, mountaineers and 4x4 enthusiasts but there are other possibilities.
“These are everyday volunteers with a very keen community spirit – people who might also have access to usable buildings which can cater for large numbers of emergency personnel or displaced people in need of temporary warmth and shelter.
“We encourage anyone with these qualities who wish to give something back to their community to come forwards.
“Those who have already signed up are an absolute credit to their communities and we absolutely commend their contribution.
“We are now seeking others to follow their example and sign up to this potentially life saving register.”
Potential applicants go through a rigorous registration process before being added to the live register – including checks that they are appropriately qualified to operate their asset and an inspection of their equipment to ensure it is safe to use.
Volunteers would not be obligated to attend an incident, and a full and appropriate SFRS response would be mobilised regardless of whether a volunteer is able to attend.
AM Farquharson continued: “The SFRS will provide our firefighters with right training, equipment and knowledge to respond to an emergency incident.
“But the country faces changing risks and new challenges, covering vast areas land with extremely diverse geographies.
“Scotland’s communities have their own part to play, utilising the skills and equipment available to them, to help ensure that we are all as resilient as possible when facing these risks.
“You can do your part by becoming a retained firefighter in their local station, or volunteering for the community asset register.”
Image above: Bruce Farquharson from the SFRS.