Three ultra-modern Rapid Response Units (RRU) are undergoing final checks in Skye ready for service in Uig, Staffin and Raasay in a few weeks.
Firefighters Ian Nicholson and Mike Colliar took one of the new vehicles to Portree to demonstrate the RRUs’ abilities to local councillors and community councillors attending a Highland Council ward forum meeting.
The vehicles weigh in around half the size of a traditional 18 tonne fire appliance, making them more agile and speedy on Highland roads.
They have a range of state-of-the-art equipment on board to help fire fighters tackle both fire and medical emergencies.
Undoubted stars in the RRUs armoury are its Coldcut ultra high pressure lances.
Aided by thermal imaging cameras to identify where the fire is, the lances are then deployed to avoid crews having to enter dangerous burning buildings.
They use iron filings to bore a hole through solid concrete or even steel, through which to spray a fine mist of water.
The RRUs also have fans on board, with which to disperse smoke once the fire is dampened and allow firefighters to enter the building safely.
The vehicles also have a range of medical equipment on board, including a defibrillator, meaning crews can attend medical emergencies to act as first responders if they happen to be closer than an ambulance.
They can be manned by a crew of three, two or even one fire fighter, depending on the emergency, whereas the traditional appliances needed a minimum crew of four.
This versatility has advantages in small, far-flung communities where the fire service has difficulty mustering enough retained firefighters.
Another advantage is they can be driven on an ordinary driving licence.
RRUs are also set to be deployed in Applecross, Aultbea, Bettyhill, Cannich, Foyers, Glenelg , Kilchoan, Kinlochewe, Lochaline, Lochinver and Torridon.
They’re part of a 40-strong fleet for Scotland, costing £7.6 million.