Praise for Scotland’s emergency services

Ministers have praised the commitment and hard work of Scotland’s emergency services for their work over the festive period.

The Christmas and New Year season is one of the busiest times of the year for the emergency services with staff dealing with thousands of incidents; from the various impacts of severe weather to saving lives.

Last year in the three weeks between 12th December and 1st January the Scottish Ambulance Service dealt with over 35,600 emergency incidents, an increase of around 3,500 — or an extra 165 incidents a day — compared to normal demand.

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Over the festive period last year, the number of fires that Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended rose by 11% to an average of over 15 fires across Scotland every day.

In December 2014, Police Scotland handled nearly 277,000 calls to the 999 and 101 numbers from members of the public.

Alongside police, fire and health workers, volunteer organisations such as the Scottish Mountain Rescue and the RNLI will also be playing a huge part in keeping people right across Scotland safe.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Scotland’s emergency services do a hugely difficult job and this Christmas and New Year, police officers and staff right across the country will being spending time away from families and loved ones keeping communities safe from harm.

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“This is one of the busiest times for our emergency services, and every year they cope admirably with the demand. We are lucky in Scotland to have such a committed workforce who are a credit to the country and we should all be thankful for their hard work and commitment throughout the year, but especially over the festive period.”

Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “Scottish Fire and Rescue Service staff do a fantastic job of keeping our communities safe in all conditions. This is a particularly busy time of year for firefighters, and all of our hardworking emergency service workers, many of whom are out on duty when we are celebrating with family and friends.

“I have had a number of opportunities this year to find out more about the work of SFRS crews and have learned of the range of skills and expertise along with resilience and courage, needed for the job.

“My thanks to the firefighters, control room staff and SFRS staff who do an incredible job in responding to a huge number of situations and who are a credit to our public services.”

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Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “I am immensely grateful not just to our emergency services but to all of our NHS staff, and volunteers, who care for patients over the festive period with the same compassion, professionalism and dedication they show all year round.

“Delivering the highest quality of care for patients, round the clock, is at the heart of NHS Scotland’s ethos and that does not stop at Christmas. I would like to thank all of the staff who are at the forefront of making this a reality.”