Council chief’s tribute to those working together during Falkirk gas supply crisis

SGN with a multi-agency response including Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Falkirk Council and third sector volunteers distributed twin electric cooker hobs and electric heaters to the most vulnerable in the affected areas. Pic: Michael Gillen.
SGN with a multi-agency response including Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Falkirk Council and third sector volunteers distributed twin electric cooker hobs and electric heaters to the most vulnerable in the affected areas. Pic: Michael Gillen.

Falkirk Council’s chief executive, Kenneth Lawrie, has paid tribute to the teams of people who worked so hard to deal with the gas supply crisis.

But he also thanked the community themselves who, he said, “pulled together to help each other through a difficult time”.

Mr Lawrie said a partnership of people – including council workers, police, fire and rescue and the NHS – came together to work with SGN to ensure that priority help was given to the most vulnerable members of the community.

Having been told about the problem on Sunday morning, they quickly identified people who were known to the NHS, social care and SGN to find people who needed help most.

He said: “A resilience partnership was set up with Fire & Rescue, the police, SGN, NHS Forth Valley and the health and social care partnership, Scottish Water and the voluntary sector.

“We established a base at Camelon Education Centre because it was available at short notice and could accommodate the number of vehicles that were needed to deliver heaters and cooking facilities.”

He reported that people had worked until 1am to deliver these to affected households.

Their next focus was on communication which they did through social media and leaflets, trying to keep people updated regularly.

Mr Lawrie said the response was generally positive and people “seemed to appreciate the efforts that were being made to restore power”.

The council also offered some local schools to help with hot food and the Community Trust made showers available.

He said: “The community-based partnership brought swift action and mobilised hundreds of responders to assist and the high visibility meant people were assured that everything was being done to help.

“But the communities also pulled together to help each other through a difficult time and we should thank them for that.”

Mr Lawrie said that they had learned valuable lessons from ‘The Beast from the East’ and they were well prepared to respond.

He said: “As with all of these things we seek to learn from what went well and what could have been better.”

Each of the party leaders in Falkirk Council echoed the chief executive’s thanks.

Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “We managed to see our way through a difficult time and all credit to the staff involved.”

She also praised the residents for being understanding and for their cooperation.

Labour group leader Robert Bissett said: “It was a time of crisis and as usual the people of Falkirk pulled together.”