Tayside mountain rescue base boosts emergency response

SFRS MRT Exercise - Bruar Gorge 2Emergency rescue operations in the Tayside area were given a massive boost recently with the opening of a new purpose built mountain rescue base.

Care charity, St John Scotland, has provided funding for the new base and it’s the first time in the 40 years of organised mountain rescue within the Tayside area that volunteers have had a dedicated training and operational base.

Tayside Mountain Rescue is a collaboration of civilian and police teams who provide mountain rescue cover throughout the Tayside area, from the Angus Glens to the Highlands of Perthshire.

The community fire station at Aberfeldy also doubles as a mountain rescue base and teams are able to store equipment and provide an emergency response from there as necessary. The new base will be a focal point for mountain rescue across the area. In addition, it will be used to support national training for mountain rescue with Tayside at the forefront of skills relative to rigging and canyon rescue.

St John Scotland has a rolling programme of supporting Scotland’s mountain rescue teams, so far providing 12 new bases, as well as new vehicles and equipment. In 2011 alone it donated more than £187,000 to rescue projects all over the country.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Perth and Kinross District Officer, Rab Middlemiss said, “Tayside Mountain Rescue Team supports the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service at water or rope related incidents and covers the entire Tayside area including many incidents in Highland Perthshire.

“The Blairgowrie base will complement the facility we already share with our MRT colleagues at Aberfeldy Community Fire Station.

“Scottish Fire and Rescue Service welcome the base as it supports our existing partnership working arrangements. It provides Tayside MRT with a purpose built base to support emergency rescue operations.”

He added, “At present we share training facilities with Tayside MRT and this new base will allow us to further develop our relationship. We already take part in regular exercises to test and further improve our working relationship and capabilities.”

Pat Watters, Chairman of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Board, said, “I warmly welcome the new Tayside Mountain Rescue Team base here at Blairgowrie. It provides the team with an excellent facility from which to base their operations.

“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service already enjoys an excellent working relationship with our partners at Tayside MRT and this new facility can only benefit emergency operations in the Tayside area, which in turn enhances public safety.”