South Scotland

Solway coastal fire cover costs debated

Southerness - Picture by Anne Burgess
Image caption The population in Southerness can grow significantly in the summer

A volunteer fire-fighting unit at a popular Solway holiday village would cost £40,000 pounds to set up, a report has said.

The price of establishing an eight-strong auxiliary unit has been outlined as part of a review of emergency cover for Southerness.

The findings are set to be presented to Dumfries and Galloway Council's police, fire and rescue committee.

Official figures suggested fire cover for the resort was not a major problem.

Southerness has two holiday parks, housing more than 800 caravans.

In the peak summer season the population can swell from about 300 to more than 5,000.

This has led to some concerns about the adequacy of fire cover from Dumfries or Dalbeattie, each more than 20 minutes away.

Safety unit

However, fire and rescue service statistics suggested there was not a major problem.

There have been 50 call-outs to Southerness in the past 11 years - almost half of them false alarms - and just one caravan fire since 2003.

The fire service said it provided advice to caravan owners and it stationed a community safety unit at the holiday parks at certain times of the year.

An option to enhance emergency cover with a volunteer auxiliary fire-fighting team has been looked at but would cost £40,000 to set up.

In light of that, the council committee was being recommended to continue with the existing arrangements, with the fire service to offer free basic first aid and fire training for holiday park staff.

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