WESTERN AREA FIRE BRIGADE
The Western Area Fire Brigade came into operation on the 8th May, 1948 under the Fire Services Act,1947 covering the counties of Argyll, Bute and Renfrew, and the burghs of Greenock, Paisley and Port Glasgow. The Brigade continued until Regionalisaton on 16th May, 1975 when part of it went into the new Highland and Islands Fire Brigade and the rest helped form the new Strathclyde Fire Brigade.
|1948 to 1964||12 Johnston Street, PAISLEY, Renfrewshire.|
|1964 to 1975||5 Thornhill, JOHNSTONE, Renfrewshire.|
|1948 to 1961||Firemaster R. Bowman O.B.E. G.I.F.E.|
|1961 to 1968||Firemaster Joseph Hartil|
|1968 to 1975||Firemaster Robert Herbert M.B.E.|
|New station 23/9/1970||Clarkston||WT|
|Port Glasgow||WT/RT||Port Glasgow||WT/RT|
|Unit was her 1955||Lochranza||Vol.|
|Unit started 1967||Lagg||Vol.|
|Unit at Whiting Bay in 1953 moved to Blackwaterfoot 1971|
|Unit started 1971||Blackwaterfoot||Vol.|
|St. Catherines||Vol.||St. Catherines||Vol.|
|Unit was here 1955||Kilmelford||Vol.|
|Unit was here 1955||Glenborrodale||Vol.|
|Unit started 1968||Acharacle||Vol.|
|Unit started 1971||Ardgour||Vol.|
|Salen (I of Mull)||Vol.||Salen||Vol.|
|Unit started between 1960 and 1963||Craignure||Vol.|
|Unit started 1956||Isle of Iona||Vol.|
|Cornaighmore||Vol.||Closed and moved to Balemartin 1972|
|New unit 1972||Balemartine||Vol.|
|Port Ellen||Vol.||Port Ellen||Vol.|
|Unit started at Portnahaven between 1960 and 1963 Closed 1973|
|Unit moved here from Portnahaven 1973||Port Charlotte||Vol.|
|Isle of Colonsay||Vol.||Isle of Colonsay||Vol.|
|Isle of Gigha||Vol.||Isle of Gigha||Vol.|
|Unit at Salen (Ardnamurchan) 1955 Closed 1971|
The call sign for the Western Area Fire Brigade Control was M2GR.
The following stations were built:-
New Headquarters at Thornhill, Johnstone 1963 replaced headquarters at Paisley Fire Station.
£90,000 HEADQUARTERS FOR JOHNSTONE
The Western Area Fire
Headquarters, which cost £90,000 to build, is now directing fire operations from
Johnstone to places as far away as Oban and Tobermory.
All the staff have now moved into this magnificent modern building, from which all fires in Renfrewshire, Bute and Argyll are controlled over an area of 3,500 square miles. The fire control room, the nerve centre of the entire fire fighting force in the western area quickly and efficiently issues instructions to fire stations, stipulating how many fire brigades should go to the various fires in the area.
There is very little possibility of any mistake being made in the number of fire appliances sent out to a fire. One of the girls who works in the control room explained: -
“Every street in Renfrewshire is down in the attendance list. Whenever we receive a call here, we find out where the fire is and look up the street in the attendance list. Having found out this information, we proceed to direct the necessary appliances to the fire.
“Although this method would appear to be completely infallible, it sometimes happens that we receive a call from a housewife who thinks that her whole house is in flames. We may decide from the answers she gives us in her excitement to send several fire engines, and when they arrive at the house the firemen find that it was only a pot which had boiled over on the cooker, and that she had managed to put it out by herself.
“As often as possible,” continued the girl with the fires of the whole area at her fingertips, “we in the Control Room handle the fires without bothering the Firemaster at all. We do not feel that the responsibility we have is too great, and it gives us a certain pleasure to feel that we are doing such a worthwhile job."
The staff in the ultra modern, abstractly carpeted office have nothing but praise for their new surroundings. The spacious rooms with contemporary style desks and comfortable chairs, provide an amenable setting for the important work that is carried on within the walls. The officials pursue their individual business in their curtain clad offices of which they are very proud and make sure that any crisis which arises will be dealt with immediately.
The personal needs of the occupants of the building have not been overlooked, as there is a streamlined kitchen, complete with stainless steel unit and sparkling electric cooker. Some of the girls also take advantage of the facilities of the kitchen to make their meals at lunchtime. Nor do they have to carry their meal more than a few yards from the cooker, since the kitchen is fully equipped as a dining room with formica covered tables and suitable chairs.
Mr Joseph Hartil, Firemaster of the Western Area, said, “In this project we have the area headquarters, administration centre and fire control. Behind the administrative block progress is being made on the area stores and workshops which are not yet completed.
“Although there will not be a fire station here in the future, we have acquired a site in King’s Road for the proposed fire station. The headquarters at the Thorn will not be opened formally, but the Western Area Joint Committee will perform an unofficial opening ceremony on November 25.”
<PHOTO> Firemaster Joseph Hartill. Wearing the Queen’s Fire Service medal which was presented to him at the opening of the new Barrhead Fire Station, is Firemaster Joseph Hartill.
<PHOTO> Two girl operators seated at the vast control panel in the new Western Area Fire Brigade Headquarters.
(Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette. 6th November, 1964. Page 11.)
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