Isle of Skye left with no fire cover for an hour

THE Isle of Skye had no firefighters for just over an hour, fire chiefs have admitted.

THE Isle of Skye had no firefighters for just over an hour, fire chiefs have admitted.

The Hebridean island had to rely on a unit on the Scottish mainland, at Kyle of Lochalsh, between 2pm and 3.15pm on Tuesday.

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The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said it had recently introduced a different procedure for retained crew.

The five stations on Skye are at Uig, Staffin, Dunvegan, Portree and Broadford. It is believed the stations did not have the full complement required to attend an emergency.

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The nearest mainland station to the island is Kyle, just over the Skye Bridge.

The travel time would be about an hour to Dunvegan, 35 to 45 minutes to Portree, about 25 minutes to Sleat and 10 to 12 minutes to Broadford. A second pump would take longer to arrive.

Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford said: “It is obviously completely unacceptable that anywhere is left without cover for that time. To get from Kyle to the north end of Skye is going to take a long time.

“It leaves me shuddering to think what would happen if there was an incident taking place on the north end of Skye.

“It is totally unacceptable and I will be taking it up with SFRS.”

A spokeswoman for SFRS said: “We were advised that the crews on the stations on the Isle of Skye were unavailable on Tuesday for just over an hour.

“However, the crew at Kyle of Lochalsh was available for cover during that time in line with our resource procedures.”

She added that a recent recruitment campaign in the area had been successful and a number of potential candidates were currently working their way through the process.

She said: “SFRS has recently introduced a new retained recruitment process, designed to make the journey to becoming a retained firefighter smoother for both candidates and their primary employers.

“It will limit the frequency and distance of travel for applicants, particularly those who live in rural areas and ensure the overall recruitment process is timely and cost effective.”