More than a quarter of Dundee’s firefighters are not capable of conducting first aid, it has emerged.
Of the 201 full-time staff employed by the fire service in the city, just 73% were able to demonstrate competence in conducting emergency medical assistant.
Fire chief Martin Tait admitted the figure was below the expected standard and said that ideally all firefighters would be able to conduct first aid.
The group manager faced a grilling from Labour councillor Kevin Keenan who demanded to know how firefighters would treat casualties in an emergency before paramedics arrived, or what they would do in a major incident.
Mr Keenan told the council’s policy and resources committee: “Having more than 25% of fire staff unable to conduct first aid is clearly concerning.
“What would happen if there were a major emergency, like a chemical spill, and everyone was called into action?
“Firefighters must be in a position to provide first aid before paramedics arrive.”
Mr Tait told the committee that the figure was beneath the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service benchmark of 80% and the brigade was taking action to remedy the situation.
He said: “We are taking action on this issue and we have dedicated staff who can deliver first aid training.”
Firefighters have a number of “critical core skills” on which they are regularly tested with their ability to provide first aid tested every three years.
Mr Tait added: “Sickness and absences often mean that colleagues miss refresher courses but it is something we are working to resolve.”
First aid is one of four core skills which, according to a report authored by Mr Tait, are essential “to ensure that (firefighters) can undertake their role in an efficient, effective and safe manner”.
Competence in the use of breathing apparatus is tested every two years and 91% of those assessed were able to use it.
Road accidents are another area of assessment, with 86% of brigade personnel registering as competent in that area.