The crews raced to a fire at a petrochemical facility and snatched a casualty to safety before dousing the flames during the realistic practical scenario.

They showcased their technical skills to mark the official launch of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s new £10.5million facility at Newbridge, Edinburgh on Tuesday, January 28. The facility is now the second largest fire training site in Scotland.

It will equip 1,600 personnel from across 65 fire stations with the knowledge and skills to respond safely and effectively to fires within domestic, industrial and commercial buildings.

Firefighters will also be trained to respond to a wide range of other incidents such as road traffic collision, urban search and rescue, mass decontamination, rope rescue and water rescue.

And they will further be equipped to use new firefighting technologies such as Ultra High-Pressure Lances (UHPL).

Community Safety Minister Ash Denham was joined at the official opening by SFRS Board Chair Dr Kirsty Darwent and Chief Officer Martin Blunden.

Community Safety Minister Ash Denham said: “I was very impressed to see firefighters being put through their paces at the new training facility.

“Training is an essential component in ensuring firefighters maintain the skills and professional competencies needed to keep our communities safe. Having these fantastic facilities in the east of Scotland also allows training to be delivered closer to home, enabling firefighters to spend less time away from their core duties and their families.”

Chief Officer Blunden said: “This is truly a landmark occasion for our national Service.

“This state-of-the-art training facility will ensure our firefighters receive the best training to respond to a very wide spread of emergency incidents including water rescue and urban search and rescue.

“It will also support a total of 42,000 training hours each year for those 1,600 operation personnel. It is imperative that they are equipped with the skills and the knowledge to stay safe when responding to some of the most challenging and dynamic incidents. This investment is therefore good news for the communities we serve and protect.”

Board Chair Dr Kirsty Darwent added: “It is a pleasure to be here today to mark the official opening of what is indeed a very impressive facility, and this significant investment signals our very clear commitment to both firefighter and community safety.

“This facility was delivered seamlessly, built in one single phase over just 20 months and I commend our teams who worked so hard to make this possible.

“It even includes a Smoke Cleaning unit which will ensure there are no smoke emissions, therefore minimising our environmental impact which is also to be welcomed.”

David Cairns, Managing Director of Robertson Central East, said: “Robertson is proud to have delivered this hugely significant project for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. The state-of-the-art training facility in Newbridge will train more than 1600 firefighters every year, in turn benefiting dozens of community fire stations.

“Across our civil engineering and construction teams, we have ensured the training centre meets the unique requirements of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, with some of the training set to take place in temperatures up to 600 degrees Celsius.

“We look forward to building on our partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service with enabling works recently getting underway on a similar training facility in Portlethen near Aberdeen.”

The project was procured through Scape Group’s National Major Works Framework, since superseded by Major Works Scotland, part of Scape’s National Construction framework. It was delivered by Robertson in partnership with Willmott Dixon.

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