To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that firefighters employed by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service received specialist training in nuclear-related incidents prior to their being expected to provide emergency cover to facilitate the adoption by Capita of a reduced crewing model at HMNB Clyde.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) have been engaged throughout Capita Fire and Rescue's (CFR's) development of the revised operating model at HMNB Clyde and have confirmed that they will continue to provide the same level of response as before. The SFRS has no role however in approving or endorsing the changes that have been introduced (and endorsed by DFR HQ and safety officials at Clyde). CFR's reductions to firefighter cover (from a six person 24/7 watch to a five person 24/7 watch) will not place any increased reliance on the SFRS, as the on-site fire and rescue provision is not being removed and is expected to continue to be able to deliver the same outputs if called upon. No requirement to increase SFRS training has therefore been identified.
Four practical exercises were conducted in November 2020, designed to test appropriate crewing levels and their ability to respond to a fire incident that could reasonably occur at Clyde. The exercises demonstrated to DFR HQ and safety officials at Clyde that the reduction in firefighter cover did not impact CFR's ability to respond effectively to these incidents. This activity formed the basis of a robust risk-based approach; however, the assessment cannot be published for the purpose of safeguarding national security.