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Volume 940: debated on Wednesday 30 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the period of time for a new entrant to the fire service to be trained to operational standard.

A new entrant to the Fire Service in Scotland is required to complete a 13 weeks' recruit training course. Over the following four years he is required to take further training in specialist subjects, and after passing tests in the various skills becomes a fully qualified fireman.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how long it takes to train a fireman to use breathing apparatus.

The syllabus for whole-time firemen recommended by the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Councils relates to both oxygen and compresesd air sets. It requires a minimum of 70 hours' training. Where only one type of set is in use, the training may be reduced at the discretion of brigades, although many still maintain the 70 hours, thereby providing longer periods in smoke and heat. For the less complicated compressed air sets training can immediately follow basic recruit training, but it is not considered safe to permit a fireman to wear breathing apparatus unsupervised until he has had at least six months' operational firefighting experience. This period of operational experience is extended to 12 months before training may commence in the more complicated oxygen sets.