Chief praises emergency services’ teamwork in tackling major incidents including Moorfield and Fair Isle fires

Shetland’s fire chief has praised the “island response” in dealing collaboratively with major emergencies across the region.

Matt Mason, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s group commander for Shetland, said he had been “really reassured” by the support from colleagues, including the ambulance, police, coastguard services as well as the RNLI.

Speaking at Wednesday’s SIC community safety and resilience board meeting, Mr Mason spoke about the impact of recent high profile incidents, including the Moorfield Fire in Brae last month, last year’s Fair Isle Bird Observatory Fire and a recent death, also on Fair Isle.

“It’s been a really challenging and difficult period in terms of responding to incidents,  Moorfield included, as well as other traumatic incidents,” he said.

“But in the main I’ve been really reassured by the response that has been provided and the multi-agency support.”

Mr Mason said the support from the ambulance service – and the fact they now share a building – had proven particularly beneficial  in responding to the tragic death in Fair Isle on 30th July.

He said fire teams attending to the casualty administered CPR with support being given by colleagues from the ambulance service.

“That’s second time that we’ve evoked that kind of support from members of ambulance service team,” he said.

“It works really well and demonstrates how strong that teamwork is now we’re in the same building.”

Board chairman Alastair Cooper said it was a good example of joint working and deserved to be recorded and recognised.

SIC convener Malcolm Bell also praised the emergency services.

“We’ve had a number of very high profile fires and incidents over the past 18 months,” he said.

“It’s worth recording our thanks to the fire service and all emergency services for the work they do in keeping us safe.

“I think we’re very fortunate to live in a community with that level of service.”

Mr Mason also responded to a recent report in The Shetland Times, which included incorrect details about the time taken for the Fair Isle Bird Observatory fire to be detected.

A report in last Friday’s paper said it took 5hr 30mins, when the actual figure should have been 5-30mins.

Mr Mason added that details given about the cause of the fire, as being overheating, had been taken from an incident report, compiled immediately after the fire.

He said a subsequent investigation led by Police Scotland, reported that the fire was likely accidental and the cause unknown.

Mr Mason said there had been really positive work by all those who responded to the fire.

“We continue to work to make our isolated populations as resilient as they can be,” he added.


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