L59 ARINAGOUR (Isle of Coll)

1 Volunteer Support Unit


to 1997 Hut in centre of village
24/6/1997 Volunteer Garage in centre of village opposite general store               Photo


? to ? Volunteer Leader Calum Kennedy
? to ? Volunteer Leader John Kennedy (Ian Burnside)
Sept 1996 to 2003? Volunteer Leader Kevin Oliphant
2003? to Volunteer Leader John Fraser (there 2014)




1997 L163YCS Iveco Turbo Daily/Emergency One VSU
1998 P174VSU Mercedes 814D/Angloco VSU



The Western Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1948

  Equipment Volunteers
  1 Two Men Manual Pump 7 firemen

Equipment under Strathclyde Fire Brigade in Volunteer hut consisted of:- 1 Banana Pump, 8? lengths domestic hose, Ceiling Hook, Various hand tools, Standpipe, hydrant Key & Bar.
Uniform was yellow oilskins jackets and leggings and yellow helmet. Now it is standard Nomex Bunker Tunics and leggings, Navy with reflective stripes and Cromwell helmet with diamond on either side to signify Volunteer. In addition the Volunteers get navy boiler suits as undress uniform.

An early Western Area Fire Brigade list shows the address as Store House, Main Street (Tel. Coll 14)


If a Collach (a person from Coll) dials 999 and asks for the fire service, the G.P.O. will try to contact Ian Burnside (his name's actually Kennedy, but he used to live at Burnside). Ian works during the day on the island's roads, making sure they are safe, and it might be some time before he can be found. The "Coll Fire Brigade" consists of many of the island's men who must all be gathered together from across the island. There is no fire engine, but in Arinagour there is a fire shed, which houses a trailer containing water pumps, hoses, ladders, protective clothing and torches. This trailer is connected to any available vehicle and driven as near as possible to the fire.
Four times a year the "Coll Fire Brigade" has a training session led by a fireman from the mainland. Speed is essential if fires are to be put out before there is too much damage.
(COLL island of the Hebrides by Diana Ogg, (1988). Page 52.)

Arinagour Volunteer Firefighting Unit

by Charlie Self

The level of protection for homes and property on Coll from the potentially devastating effects of fire was substantially improved by the complete re-vamping of the Arinagour volunteer firefighting unit.
The wee wooden shed with it's limited contents has blossomed (?mushroomed??) into a large fire station complete with a well equipped firefighting appliance. More volunteers have been recruited, bringing the total to nine under the leadership of Kevin Oliphant with John Fraser as deputy. This extra provision of manpower, appliance, pumps, ladders and associated machinery means that in the event of a fire we have a much increased capability to contain the danger and preserver life and property.
Although the Coll volunteer firefighter will deal with many less call outs than their mainland counterparts, the technical expertise and personal safety of the volunteers is being greatly increased by regular training and, critically, by the provision of breathing apparatus (B.A.). Wearing B.A. enables volunteers to enter burning buildings if someone is trapped inside. It also means the risks to the volunteers are much greater, hence the increased levels of training.
Having experienced the fear and disorientation of being trapped in the top flat of a burning Edinburgh tenement (people died, the building was burnt out, but the professionalism and bravery of the firefighters was inspirational), I approached our first B.A. training session with some trepidation. Wearing thick and heavy protective clothing, gloves, helmet, breathing through a face mask and weighed down with bulky air bottles is claustrophobic enough. Imagine then being locked in a totally blacked out room, pumped full of heat and smoke. The room was laid out like a three dimensional maze and we had to search for casualties, roped together in pairs. You could see nothing, feeling was restricted by the thick gloves, hearing was minimal, only the gasping of the face masks, and always the heat building up, the maze getting smaller and tighter, the air bottles jamming, squirming on your belly terrified to dislodge the face mask, concentrating on holding down the panic, and feeling everywhere for casualties.
Training is frightening enough, I hope we never have to do it for real. Check your smoke alarms are working, make sure you have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket, and always be careful.
<PHOTO> Station with Iveco and a Transit van on forecourt.
(The Coll Magazine, Issue 15, 1997. Page 53)

Arinagour Fire Station

The new Fire Station in the village was given an official seal of approval in a formal opening ceremony on June 24th. A number of dignitaries were flown in from the mainland by helicopter, much to the excitement of those in the village at the time as the helicopters can land in the hotel car park.
The proceedings were opened by Councillor Bruce Robertson of Strathclyde Fire Board and the assembled guests included Councillor Joseph Shaw, Convenor to Strathclyde Fire Board; Firemaster John Jameson; Assistant Firemaster John Martin; Senior Divisional Officer Phil Robinson and Reverend R Symington.
Firemaster John Jameson spoke of the 'milestone of achievement' that the new station represents, reflecting on the previously poor level of fire cover on the island where a house fire is every bit as dangerous as one in a town or city. The commitment of Strathclyde Fire Board to improving conditions can now be seen with the provision of a new building, a modern fire appliance and new BA equipment.
Training for the local firefighting unit has increased accordingly and certificates in BA Training and Driver Training were awarded to individual members of the unit. Volunteer firefighters on Coll are Kevin Oliphant (Leader), John Fraser (Deputy), Allan Brodie, Neil Galbraith, Neil Morrison, Charlie Self, Patrick Rutherford, Hamish MacRae, Ian Cochrane and Lauchie MacLean Bristol.
<PHOTO> The Coll Firefighting Crew. (Kevin plus 7 fireman and the Firemaster)
(The Coll Magazine, Issue 16, 1998. Page 58)



1941 to 1948 National Fire Service
1948 to 1975 Western Area Fire Brigade
1975 to 2005 Strathclyde Fire Brigade
2005 to 2013 Strathclyde Fire & Rescue (Name change only.)
1/4/2013 Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

2014 This unit now has Hydraulic cutting equipment (Combi Tool). Don't know when received.




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


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