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24/12/16 00:01

Praise for ‘blue light’ responders

Ministers thank our emergency services as festive period gets underway.

The sacrifice and dedication of Scotland’s emergency services over the festive period has been recognised by Ministers.

For many people, this is a time dominated by last minute gift purchasing and festive meal planning, as we enjoy holidays with friends and family. Yet for emergency responders, the Christmas and New Year season is one of the busiest times of the year, with staff responding to thousands of incidents.

In the three weeks between 12 December 2015 and 1 January 2016, the Scottish Ambulance Service dealt with over 34,710 emergency incidents, an increase of around 3,100 – or an extra 147 incidents a day – compared to normal demand. Over the same period last year, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service responded to 4,527 incidents, which included 993 fires – averaging more than 200 incidents daily.

Meanwhile, in December 2015, Police Scotland handled nearly 268,000 calls to the 999 and 101 numbers from members of the public.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:

“During the festive period police throughout the country are sacrificing time with their families in order to help safeguard our communities and keep Scotland safe.

“We are fortunate to have many capable and highly committed police officers and staff. As we enter what is sure to be a demanding period over Christmas and Hogmanay, I would like to thank you all for your hard work and dedication.

“Thank you also to the many volunteers for various organisations throughout Scotland – such as the Scottish Mountain Rescue and the RNLI – who give back to their communities, sacrificing their time and energy to contribute to a safer Scotland.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

“Our ambulance crews do a tremendous job all year round and Christmas and New Year, which can sometimes be particularly busy, is no different. We all owe them a tremendous debt of thanks, particularly at this time of year.

“Of course, it isn’t just our ambulance staff who will be working this Christmas. Hard-working professionals will be continuing to deliver their normal high standards of patient care throughout Scotland’s NHS and I would like to thank them for their efforts.”

Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing said: 

“While you are spending time with friends and family this festive season, spare a thought for the committed staff of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service – control room staff, support staff and courageous firefighters, who are ready to respond to emergencies and put their lives on the line.

“In recent weeks I have met with SFRS crews in Lochgelly, Edinburgh, Bathgate and Dyce. I have heard first-hand about the challenging situations they face on a regular basis and I have huge admiration for the professionalism and resilience of SFRS staff throughout the country.”