Retained Unit.


1974?                  Equipment kept at A Sandison & Sons, Northside

? to ?                  Shed across from Baltasound Post Office

1984/85               Garage near the Nikkavord Lea housing, Baltasound, Unst, SHETLAND ZE2 9DS.                                    Photo

9/10/2010            Baltasound Fire Station, Hagdale Industrial Estate, Baltasound, Unst, SHETLAND ZE2 9DS

5/12/2016            Unst Community Fire Station, Main Road, Baltasound, Shetland ZE2 9DT                                                    Photo



1974 to 1989 October                        Volunteer Leader R. Anderson (Bobba)

1989 October to 2000 September    Volunteer Leader Willie McLeod

2000 September to                             Watch Manager Ninian Johnson




1984/85 C834AAS Bedford CF/Fulton and Wylie CFV
2000 G792VAS Ford Transit/Fulton and Wylie LFA
2004 SY04BWU LDV Convoy/HIFB LFA
2008 SY02TTO LDV 400 Convoy/HIFB LFA
2009 T188SFW Volvo FL6-14/John Dennis/HIFRS WrL
2018 Apr SY03BNK MAN 10-225/Emergency One WrL



1975 to 1983 Northern Fire Brigade
1983 to 2005 Highland and Islands Fire Brigade
2005 to 2013 Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service
2013 to Scottish Fire and Rescue Service



1999/2000 Upgraded to Breathing Apparatus status.

With the new brigade structure introduced in the summer of 2003 the 3 Divisions were re-organised into 2 Commands North and South, Baltasound was put into North Command. Call signs remained the same.

On 1st April 2005 along with 61 other units Baltasound was upgraded to a Retained Unit, drilling one night per week and receiving a retaining fee.

On the 5th December, 2016 Baltasound was renamed Unst Community Fire Station. An Ambulance is now stationed at the station.

6/12/2016      When the Command and Control Centre at Seafield Road, Inverness closed today all calls for the legacy Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service were transferred the Temporary Dundee Operations Control at Macalpine Road. The legacy H&I call signs also changed to the new National Call Signs with Unst changing from C28 to W21.



Highlands & Islands Fire & Rescue Service
“Helping make the Highlands & Islands a safer and better place to live.”


Baltasound Fire Station Opening Ceremony
Saturday 9 October 2010


Chief Fire Officer’s Welcome 

Welcome to all our guests and friends at the opening of the newly converted Fire Station in Baltasound, Unst.
The Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service is determined to make our communities safer. Our firefighters do this through providing community safety advice and an emergency response service that is second to none. In recent years we have made increasing demands upon the firefighters of Unst, expanding their role and asking them to learn new skills. They have met this challenge and today I am proud that we are able to provide them with a station that meets their professional, safety, dignity and welfare needs. I am confident it will be an important community resource for many years to come.
The Fire Board works hard to secure the necessary resources to fund the Service and I am pleased that the Shetland Fire Board Members are here to attend the ceremony.
Thank you everyone for attending and supporting our Service. 

David Wynne
Chief Fire Officer


Station Opening Ceremony 

•              Shetland District Manager’s Introduction
                Group Manger Duncan MacDougall 

•              Assistant Chief Fire Officer’s Address
                ACFO Mike Holme 

•              Official Opening
                Councillor Alastair Cooper
                Councillor Allison Duncan 

•              Baltasound Officer in Charge’s Response
                Watch Manager Ninian Johnson

Long Service & Good Conduct Medal 

•              Recipients
                Watch Manager Ninian Johnson
                Firefighter James Laurenson (retired) 

•              Medal Citation
                Station Manager Mark Loynd 

•              Medal Presentations
                ACFO Mike Holme


A Brief History of the Baltasound Fire Unit 

The first fire fighting equipment to be based in Baltasound was located at ‘A. Sandison & Sons’, Northside. This consisted of trays of canvas hose, branches, a hand pump and former WD hard hats. The staff made up the voluntary crew.
Later a small shed was located across from the Baltasound Post Office. This contained hose and a small pump. The equipment had to be transported in whoever’s vehicle was available often Bobba’s mini!
The garage near the Nikkavord Lea housing was built in 1984/5 with the first fire appliance being a Bedford CF van (Reg No C834AAS) arriving at that time. This vehicle remained on the island until late 1999.
The Battasound unit was then upgraded from Voluntary to Auxiliary BA status and a Ford Transit light fire appliance was provided capable of carrying the new breathing apparatus equipment. This vehicle was subsequently replaced by an LDV Convoy light fire appliance.
In 2005 the unit was upgraded again. This time to Retained status and in late 2009 the current water tender appliance arrived.
It should be noted that for a long period the RAF, stationed at Saxa Vord, assisted with fire cover throughout Unst under a Section 12 agreement of the Fire Services Act 1947, until their ultimate departure. Also from the late 1970’s until 1996 the Baltasound Airport Fire Service responded to incidents if available.
Over these years the unit has attended a variety of incidents which required the ingenuity of the crews to resolve circumstances ranging from pumping out fishing boats to a hill fire which required beaters to be hastily constructed. Also a number of dwelling fires had to be tackled with the nearest water source being some considerable distance away.

Baltasound Officers in Charge 

•               R. Anderson (Bobba)          1974-Oct 1989
•               Willie McLeod                      Oct 1989 - Sep 2000
•               Ninian Johnson                    Sep2000 -to date

There is a photo of the new station with T188SFW outside, the old station, and C834AAS in the Opening Programme.


If you know of any mistakes in this or have any additional information please let me know.


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