HC Deb 07 February 1962 vol 653 c403
10. Commander Donaldson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has reviewed the fire-fighting services in Hawick since the fires in mills in 1959; and if he intends to establish a full-time manned fire station in the burgh.

Mr. Maclay

I have been discussing with the South-Eastern Fire Area Joint Committee the need for whole-time firemen in the burgh and I await its proposals. The number of pumping appliances at the station has been increased and their pumping capacity has doubled.

Commander Donaldson

While thanking my right hon. Friend for the increase in the number of pumping machines in the area, and while appreciating the high standard of the volunteer firemen in Hawick, may I ask him whether he will ask his advisers to consider that, if there were a big fire in a mill in Hawick and at the same time another in Galashiels where the major full-time force is maintained, great difficulty would arise? Will my right hon. Friend consider that point in the discussions which are proceeding?

Mr. Maclay

I will certainly see that that point is borne in mind.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the Secretary of State aware that some firemen in the rural and outlying districts consider that they are ill-equipped in that they have not enough skilled people and that, while ordinary people can help very greatly in putting out fires, unless there are enough skilled and trained men in the brigades, great danger may result? The members of fire brigades complain that there is a deficiency in skilled men because of competition from other better paid trades.

Mr. Maclay

That may be, but I think the right hon. Gentleman will join me in paying a high tribute to the part-time men for the invaluable work that they do.

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