An MSP has called for a top-level meeting with fire chiefs after “shocking new figures” show engines were taken off Aberdeen’s roads hundreds of times.
North-east MSP Lewis Macdonald asked for the talks after it emerged that fire appliances in Aberdeen were taken off the run 340 times in 305 days between October and July.
In 81% of cases, staffing was to blame – the highest percentage of all 16 Scottish areas in that period.
The remaining 19% of appliance withdrawals was due to mechanical issues.
The figure is made up of all instances where vehicles are off the run, whether it be for a few minutes or for a full 12-hour shift.
Previously, we revealed appliances were taken off the run 227 times in 202 days, between October 2 and April 22, meaning there were a further 103 instances in the 99 days between April 23 and up to the end of July.
Mr Macdonald described the figures as “shocking”.
He expressed concerns that safety could be compromised if two major fires happened in the city at the same time.
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He pointed the finger at Scottish Fire and Rescue Service chiefs rather than staff.
He added: “When a fire happens, every second can count so it’s vital that when fire engines are needed there is no undue delay.
“When there are not enough fire engines in Aberdeen vehicles are pulled in from the surrounding rural areas.
“What will happen if there are two major incidents in the north of Scotland at the same time? I am calling for a meeting with senior management to find out what they are doing to address these issues, so that the safety of firefighters and the communities they serve is not compromised.”
Mr Macdonald has written to the service’s chief officer Alasdair Hey about the issue.
The service’s deputy assistant chief officer responsible for the north of Scotland David Farries said: “As a national service, we continuously plan the resources required on our front line.
“There is a capacity in our system that allows us to flex and bend our resources, including the strategic movement of appliances and personnel from other stations.
“Where we identify resourcing needs based on, for example unplanned absence, we will work with our local teams to cover that requirement including overtime.
“The service is keen to engage wherever possible and will of course be happy to meet with Mr Macdonald.”