Retained Unit.


1979                            Shed on Symbister Beach.

1986                            Purpose built garage.

14/3/2013                    Saltness, Symbister, Whalsay, Shetland Islands, ZE2 9AD        Photo


1979 to 1984 Robert Leask
1984 to Sub Officer George M Leask



1990 C835AAS Bedford CF/Fulton and Wylie CFA
1998 L321SAS Mercedes 310D/HIFB LFA
2006 M101VAS Mercedes 310D/HIFB LFA
2009 T338SAS LDV Convoy/HIFB LFA
2009 T189SFW Volvo FL6-14/John Dennis/HIFRS WrL



1979 to 1983 Northern Fire Brigade
1983 to 2005 Highland and Islands Fire Brigade
2005 to 31/3/2013 Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service
1/4/2013 to Scottish Fire and Rescue Service




Unit formed 1979.

1/93-3/94    BA Introduced.

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

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

Chief Fire Officer, Stewart Edgar, Fire Board Convener, Andrew Drever, Vice-Convener, Audrey Sinclair and Assistant Chief Fire Officer Billy Wilson, will attended the official opening of the new fire stations at Whalsay on the Shetland Islands on Thursday 14th March 2013.

Whalsay had a call sign of C41 in The Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service, this was changed to W23, the new National Call Sign, when the Control at Inverness closed on 6/12/2016 and moved to Dundee.



Highlands & Islands Fire & Rescue Service

Helping make the Highlands & Islands a safer and better place to live, work and visit


<PHOTO> of the station with T189FSW


Whalsay Fire Station Opening Ceremony

Thursday 14th March 2013 


Chief Fire Officer’s Welcome
Welcome to all of our guests and friends at the opening of the new Fire Station in Whalsay.
The Highlands & Islands Fire & 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 Whalsay, 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 Fire Board Convener Andrew Drever and Vice Convener Audrey Sinclair are here to attend the ceremony.
Whalsay is one of the last stations to be opened under the auspices of the Highlands & Islands Fire & Rescue Service.
Thank you everyone for attending and supporting our Service.
Stewart Edgar
Chief Fire Officer


Station Opening Ceremony

•              Shetland Group Manager’s Introduction
Group Manager Duncan MacDougall

•              Chief Fire Officer’s Address
CFO Stewart Edgar 

•              Official Opening
Convener Andrew Drever 

•              Whalsay Officer in Charge’s Response
Watch Manager George Magnus Leask


Whalsay Station Personnel 

Watch Manager: George Leask
Crew Managers:
•              James Anderson
•              Steven Johnson
•              John Dally
•              John Irvine
•              Peter Anderson
•              Tom Shearer
•              Neil Eunson
•              Ian Irvine
•              John Anderson
•              Danny Irvine
•              Graham Polson
•              Ian Anderson


A Brief History of the Whalsay Fire Unit 

The Whalsay volunteer fire unit was established in 1979. They were based in a shed on Symbister beach with the standard volunteer equipment supplied— a small pump, several lengths of hose, branches, lines and fire gear which consisted of a heavy duty boiler suit, they were also supplied with ex World War 2 tin helmets.
In 1986 the unit moved into a purpose built garage, at the same time they were upgraded to a mobile unit and supplied with a Bedford CF van. The station was further enhanced with breathing apparatus in 1992, becoming one of the first volunteer units in the Highland & Islands area to be provided with such equipment. In 1993 the Whalsay & Out Skerries Community Council and the Fire Service entered into a partnership which seen the provision of cutting equipment, purchased by the community council.
In line with other volunteer units the Whalsay personnel were upgraded to retained status in 2005.
The firefighters embraced me progression from volunteer to retained and the additional training this provided. It offered more realistic and professional methods of working to improve their intervention capability.
In 2010 the firefighting capability of the station was greatly improved with the delivery of a full size fire appliance. This allowed additional equipment to be carried and more importantly a larger quantity of water, given the shortage of pressurised hydrants on the island.
Like most people in remote communities, many of the fire crew fulfil a variety of roles but they have always remained available and determined to see the fire unit sustained.
With the provision of the fire appliance, and the opening of Whalsay’s first dedicated fire station, Highlands & Islands Fire & Rescue Service and the local fire crew are securing a dedicated firefighting & rescue capability on the ‘Bonnie Isle’. 

<PHOTO> Crew 
Back— J. Irvine, N. Eunson, J. Dally, I. Anderson, I. Irvine.
Front— T. Shearer, J. Anderson, G. Leask, S. Johnson, D. Irvine. 

Whalsay Officers in Charge
Robert Leask 1979 - 1984
George Leask 1984 - to date



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


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