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Fire and Rescue Division
Scottish Government
St Andrew's House (1R)
Regent Road

Tel: 0131 244 3026

Email: FireDivision@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Policy in detail: Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Fire remains one of the most significant dangers to people in Scotland. Together with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and other key partners, we are working with communities and businesses to ensure they are equipped to prevent fires happening, protect themselves from risk of fire and minimise injury and damage should fire occur.

This is informed by evidence and assessment of risk, and evaluation of publicity and other initiatives aimed at preventing fires. We also work with partners to ensure regulation is applied consistently, fairly and proportionately.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is responsible for fire and rescue services across Scotland. The SFRS replaced the eight former services in April 2013.

The main purpose of the SFRS is to work in partnership with communities and with others in the public, private and third sectors, on prevention, protection and response, to improve the safety and wellbeing of people throughout Scotland.

The key strategic aims of the SFRS are:

  • improved safety of communities and staff
  • more equitable access to fire and rescue services
  • improved outcomes through partnership
  • culture of continuous improvement

The criteria Ministers will apply in determining whether or not to grant their approval to the SFRS Headquarters location proposed by the SFRS Board are set out in the following location of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service headquarters


We provide funding to the SFRS through Grant in Aid.

More detailed information on funding can be found in the Scottish Draft Budget 2017 - 2018.

further information on SFRS priorities can be found in its Strategic and Annual Plans , which align with the Fire and Rescue Framework for Scotland 2016.


Her Majesty’s Fire Service Inspectorate in Scotland is independent of the SFRS and exists to provide independent, risk based and proportionate professional inspection of the service.

The Inspectorate also provides independent, professional advice to Scottish Ministers, and the Chief Inspector has certain diplomatic arbitration functions in relation to non-domestic fire safety.

Fire safety requirements

Legislation places a duty on those with responsibilities for buildings that are not private homes (with exceptions such as care homes or Houses of Multiple Occupation) to prevent fires and protect in the event of fires.

Guidance notes on FireLaw are published by the SG to assist ‘duty-holders’ and the SFRS to interpret and apply relevant legislation consistently and proportionately. However, it is not for government to give advice on specific cases. Duty-holders are responsible for carrying out their own risk assessments and putting in place appropriate fire safety measures.  Guidance on carrying out a fire risk assessment, including advice if you are considering engaging a fire safety expert to assist, can be found on the FireLaw pages. The SFRS carries out inspections/audits of relevant premises, provides advice and enforces fire safety law in accordance with guidance issued by Scottish Ministers.

Information about fire safety in the home is also available at the SFRS website.

Chief Fire Officer Letter and Circulars

We issue Chief Fire Officer Letters and Circulars to disseminate information relevant to the fire and rescue service and other stakeholders. Prior to the creation of the single fire and rescue service in April 2013 these circulars and letters were seen as an aid to consistency of service delivery. However, since the creation of SFRS the future of these letters and circulars is now under review.


We are responsible for the overall framework for police and fire pensions. We provide strategic direction for workforce matters for the SFRS and ensure monthly funding for firefighters’ and police pensions are paid on time to the respective service. Those elements of the post-Hutton pensions reforms agreed by Scottish Ministers, for the police and fire pension schemes in Scotland will be implemented in April 2015.

Our key aims are to:

  • manage monthly firefighters’ and police pension payments
  • take forward changes to firefighters’ and police pension schemes
  • maintain good stakeholder relations
  • provide strategic direction for workforce matters for the SFRS

Day to day responsibility for questions from staff regarding pension and compensation schemes rests with the SFRS and Police Scotland. Any questions about pensions should be made to the pensions team in the relevant service. General information about firefighters’ and police pensions is available on the Scottish Public Pensions Agency website.


The Workforce and Pensions Team also engages with SFRS on workforce matters and provides advice and direction when needed on issues such as:

  • Workforce harmonisation
  • Pay and reward framework (including Public Sector Pay Policy)
  • Terms and conditions
  • Occupational health and wellbeing (including fitness)
  • Learning and Development
  • Equality and diversity

Emergency communications

Scottish interests in ‘Firelink’, a telecommunications system utilised by all Fire and Rescue Services across Great Britain, are overseen by us, ensuring the SFRS benefits from:

  • clear voice communication and enhanced call group management for incident mobilisation and management
  • the ability to send data, including mobilisation instructions and status codes, to/from mobile vehicles
  • interoperability with the Police and Ambulance services, and other Category 1 civil contingency responders
  • extensive and resilient coverage across Scotland’s challenging geography

The SG is also developing proposals for a new telecommunications solution to succeed the existing system. Read more on emergency communications.


The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 brought together the eight former fire and rescue services from April 1, 2013. SFRS has a statutory duty to promote fire safety under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 (as amended in the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012).