Improvements seen in Scotland's fire & rescue capabilities
22nd Nov 2012
Progress has been made in improving Scotland's fire and rescue capabilities in recent years following the unsuccessful attempt to rescue a woman from a disused mineshaft back in 2008.
This is the view of the Scottish Government in its response to an inquiry into the incident.
Ministers said lessons had been learned from the tragic death of Alison Hume and a range of measures put in place to ensure that fire and rescue crews are better prepared.
The mother of two fell 14 metres into a collapsed mine shaft in Galston, Ayrshire in July 2008, suffering what were described as survivable injuries.
However, after spending several hours in the pit, developing hypothermia and suffering a heart attack, she later died in hospital.
An inquiry into the incident, ordered under Section 44 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and published in March, concluded that Ms Hume's death could have been prevented.
Indeed, it stated that her rescue was delayed by senior fire officers who showed rigid compliance with health and safety regulations.
Four years on and some major improvements have been made, the Scottish Government claims.
There has been a review of the process through which operational policy is created and developed, and there is now a national formalised suite of courses relating to incident command training and assessment, including risk critical decision making.
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service now also has a specialist line rescue team and all services have arrangements in place for the provision of line rescue.
Furthermore, nationally coordinated and delivered rope rescue training has been introduced at a new training facility in Newcraighall.
"The chief inspector's inquiry was a very important piece of work, and a reminder that the death of Alison Hume was a tragedy the likes of which we never want to see repeated," said Roseanna Cunningham, minister for community safety and legal affairs.
"The inquiry sets out several areas for improvement that are already being addressed by the eight existing services, and I am encouraged by the progress that has been made."
She also said that the improvements will be embedded into the new single fire and rescue service for Scotland, ensuring that officers have consistent training and equitable access to specialist resources.