Alarm raised over loss of Falkirk fire control centre

Former 'Central Scotland Fire and Rescue headquarters in Maddiston
Former 'Central Scotland Fire and Rescue headquarters in Maddiston
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Lives could be at risk if fire chiefs go ahead with a plan to axe the 999 control room covering Falkirk, it has been claimed.

The proposal to close the Maddiston building will be discussed by members of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Board today (Thursday) at a meeting in Aberdeen.

It is part of a rationalisation proposal being put forward following the merging in April of Scotland’s eight services into one national organisation.

But Falkirk council leader, Councillor Craig Martin, has hit out the plan and said that it is a “done deal”.

He said: “The whole thing has been a sham from the start.”

The Fire Brigades Union Scotland also condemned the “unexpected” proposal to cut the number of emergency control rooms and frontline emergency fire fighter control staff across the country.

If given the go-ahead, there will only be two control rooms serving Scotland – Johnstone in the west and a new upgraded facility in Dundee - within three years.

Local branch secretary Stephen Thomson said: “We are appalled that control room members had to find out without any negotiations or consultation at a local level. We are supposed to be working in partnerships with management to take forward reform, but there is clearly no 
partnership.

“At the start of this process, the Scottish Government said it would protect frontline services, We consider control rooms where operators are dealing with people on the phoneline, who may be in burning houses, and giving them advice to save their lives are frontline.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “We have carried out internal briefings with staff and it would be inappropriate to comment or pre-empt the discussions at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Board on Thursday, which will be looking at long-term proposals for the service’s 
property assets.”