Western Isles firefighters have been in attendance at every one of the Covid-19 vaccination clinics held across the islands over the past months.
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) officers say their duties include marshalling traffic and directing patients into and out of the clinics, are seen not only as an essential contribution to their own communities, but as part of their fire service too.
And it’s just one of the ways in which the retained duty system (RDS) operated by SFRS ensures that competent, trained teams of men and women are available in emergencies across the islands.
SFRS are currently recruiting for RDS firefighters in 13 local stations in the islands. They include Ness, Great Bernera, Shawbost, South Lochs and Valtos in Lewis, Tarbert, Scalpay and Leverburgh and stations further south at Lochmaddy, Lochboisdale, Benbecula, Bayhead and Barra. Only the Stornoway station is currently up to full strength with retained duty firefighters.
Western Isles group commander Dougie Campbell said: “Our firefighters not only get good training and transferable skills like leadership, teamwork and practical skills, but they also get the satisfaction of knowing that they are serving their community and contributing to the safety and wellbeing of their own neighbours.
“They also get a second income, paid whenever they are on duty, on call or representing the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.”
That includes the many hours spent recently in car parks outside vaccination centres, where they’ve endured pouring rain, blizzards and the occasional heatwave as they play their part in helping NHS Western Isles reach the highest percentage vaccination rate in Scotland.
Retained duty system firefighters are paid on a permanent, part-time basis at a rate of up to £3,114 per annum, pro rata.
Full details of local recruitment are available at
The pictures show RDS firefighters on duty at Covid vaccination clinics in Barra, Benbecula, Tarbert and Stornoway, alongside colleagues from NHS Western Isles and other emergency services.