The drive to recruit more women as retained firefighters will require toilet and changing facilities at stations across the Highlands and islands to be upgraded, councillors have been told.
Attracting more women into the service is seen as a way of plugging serious gaps in cover in remote parts of the Highlands and islands.
However facilities at some stations in the area will need to be improved.
The board of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is looking at the issue and its cost implications for the service.
Board member Dr Michael Foxley told the Highland Council’s community safety committee that availability of retained firefighters was still an issue.
He highlighted figures which show that while Dingwall and Invergordon station have 17 staff, they were only available for 72% and 68% of the time during the past three months.
The fire service is advertising for retained firefighters across the north.
Dr Foxley said: “We are looking to speed up recruitment because there have been delays.
“But we are also targeting female firefighters as they are generally more likely to be in their community.”
But committee chairman Drew Millar asked if there were plans to upgrade stations to provide separate facilities for women.
Dr Foxley said: “It is essential. In some stations, it’s a case of going round the back of the building.
“There are a huge number of inadequate facilities in many stations.
“The capital programme is not as fully detailed as I would like but we expect to improve facilities.”