31/05/2007

Emergency Rescue station opens on Rathlin

The first joint Rescue Station between a fire and rescue service and the Coastguard in the UK is set to open tomorrow on Rathlin Island.

The Emergency Rescue Station is in association with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

It is understood the new purpose built station will greatly enhance emergency cover on the island, improving community safety both for residents and the many tourists who visit the island each year, as well as providing better working facilities for NIFRS and Coastguard personnel.

Colin Lammey, Chief Fire Officer of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service who will jointly perform the official opening along with Peter Dymond, Chief Coastguard said: “Rathlin Rescue Station is the culmination of many months work and a very strong partnership between NIFRS and our colleagues in Her Majesty’s Coastguard.

"The new Rescue Station replaces the stone built garage which we previously operated from, which had become unsuitable for the requirements of the emergency services and modern day Rathlin Island.

“The way of life on Rathlin Island is unique in Northern Ireland and we wanted to ensure that both our 12 volunteer Firefighters and the volunteer Coastguard Rescue team had the right resources to provide the best possible emergency cover for the entire island – protecting both its residents and its many visitors.”

Peter Dymond, Chief Coastguard also said: “This is an important new facility for the 80 people who live on Rathlin Island as well as the many visitors to the area. Rathlin is a designated Special Area of Conservation and attracts thousands of visitors each year interested in seeing the unspoilt natural landscape and the abundance of wildlife around the island.

“Due to its geographical location off the north coast it has its own special requirements in terms of emergency cover and this new facility will allow us to ensure the best possible rescue service delivered by the Coastguard and Firefighters.

“The Rathlin Emergency Rescue Station demonstrates search and rescue partnership and cooperation working at its best and will ensure an integrated emergency response for the island.”

(JM/SP)

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