BLOG: Fighting to keep you safe, whatever the weather

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The current extreme weather conditions in Lothian and Borders and across Scotland are making daily life challenging for people.

Whilst some people will not be able to get to work, for those working in the emergency services we know we must endeavour to do what we can to ensure vital services are maintained 24/7, 365 days a year.

It is important that local communities know every effort is being made to deliver emergency services through adverse weather conditions.

We have very dedicated and highly motivated staff who are committed to providing a high standard of emergency cover all year round.

We have sufficient resources in place to enable fire crews to respond to emergency incidents.

Around 25 firefighters have stayed back to keep fire engines on the run and allow colleagues more time to report for duty.

This has meant staff willingly working slightly longer shifts to ensure adequate cover.

Staff have also arranged, where possible, to stay local to their stations (with family, friends or colleagues) in order to ensure they are able to get to work.

Duty officers have the use of 4X4 vehicles to allow them to keep mobile and respond to incidents.

All fire engines remain on the run except Whitburn which is currently being covered by Livingston and Bathgate fire stations.

We have responded to a number of house fires in the past few days with response times remaining at an acceptable level.

On some occasions if fire appliances have been at an incident for a prolonged period of time, crews have had to dig vehicles out when leaving.

We would like to reassure the public that every effort is being made to keep fire engines on the run and ensure that the people of Lothian and Borders will have the response they need should a fire break out or they are involved in a road traffic collision or other serious incident.

I would like to thank our staff for their dedication and commitment in making every effort to report for duty and ensure, as much as is possible, a business as usual approach.

There is no doubt the current weather situation brings challenges for all the emergency services.

The public can help by heeding safety messages, avoiding unnecessary travel and where they do need to travel making sure they have taken all appropriate precautions for a safe journey.

With more people using real fires at this time of year, and electrical appliances there is an increased risk of house fires.

People should make sure they have a working smoke alarm and follow the fire safety/winter weather advice which can be found on our website at www.lbfire.org.uk

Jimmy Campbell is Chief Fire Officer with Lothian and Borders Fire and rescue Service.

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