The changing role of Scotland’s fire service has been revealed in a new report on the work of firefighters within Perth and Kinross.
It has emerged that non-fire related incidents accounted for 13% of all crew call-outs across the region in recent months.
They saw specialist firefighters offer vital assistance at road traffic collisions, provide medical aid to those in emergency need and help to protect homes and businesses from flooding.
Senior officers believe the changing role reflects the success of partnership working, with Scottish Fire and Rescue providing ever higher levels of support to the police and ambulance services.
The findings come against a backdrop of a decrease in the number of accidental fires in the home, down 6% to 32 between July and September this year, and in the number of deliberately started fires.
Over the past quarter there has also been a significant fall in the number of fire casualties in the area, dropping from 12 in 2015 to just three in 2016, though sadly there was one fire fatality.
Local Senior Officer (LSO) Colin Grieve said: “Our firefighters are now attending a higher number of incidents where they are providing support to the Scottish Ambulance Service or Police Scotland.
“This type of service will continue to be supported by SFRS crews in the future as we continue to develop cross emergency service support to ensure we safeguard our communities’ wellbeing.”
Mr Grieve believes the falling casualty and fire rates can also be attributed to successful partnership working.
He said: “Our overall vision is to have zero fire casualties throughout Scotland and the drop in casualty figures for this year in Perth and Kinross shows we are moving in the right direction.
“These figures have not been achieved by SFRS alone and thanks must go to Perth and Kinross Council, Police Scotland and the countless other partners who continue to help us implement robust risk reduction strategies.
“Crews regularly visit houses and provide free home fire safety visits which helps to reduce the number of casualties through early detection and intervention.
“That is instrumental in contributing to safer communities.”
“Tragically however, SFRS encountered one fire fatality at a caravan at Mains of Errol farm by Perth during July 2016.
“This was the first fatality encountered within the Perth and Kinross area since 2012.
“We continue to develop links with partner agencies with the aim of identifying persons considered vulnerable to the effects of fire in order that we can develop joint risk reduction strategies.”
A case study was undertaken in the wake of the fatality with the aim of learning lessons to help reduce or eliminate risk in the future.
Deliberate fires accounted for 5% of all incidents in Perth and Kinross between July and September, but the number of individual incidents was down 11% compared to the same quarter last year.
Mr Grieve said education was a key tool in combating arson of all kinds.
“Firefighters continue to work very hard to build relationship with young people in Perth and Kinross to provide information on the dangers of wilful fire-raising,” he said.
“Crews throughout the area visit schools and work with partners in a proactive way to engage with the target audience.”