Island Life

Community blog – Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service

Friday 24/11/23

Blog from Tania McFaul, Rathlin resident and wearer of many hats including fire service volunteer and LIFE Raft Socioeconomic Development Assistant.

On Rathlin, we have a Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service crew that operates under the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service. While we may be volunteers, we take our roles very seriously.

Pictured above are members of Rathlin’s community volunteer fire and rescue crew (including me on the right), in front of Rathlin’s bespoke fire engine. The appliance was custom-designed and built in 2018 to allow crew to access properties that cannot be accessed in a regular fire engine due to the narrow lanes.


Monday nights are training nights

We all must keep up to date with our training. Rathlin’s community is made up of friends and relatives and we are keen to ensure we can provide the best service possible.

For us, Monday night is drill night on Rathlin! This provides dedicated time for our crew to complete regular checks and, if necessary, maintain equipment and complete training exercises and drills.


Rathlin Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services performing drills


Our team are prepared to help

Rathlin a tightknit community of about 160 residents. Everyone on our team are members of this community. We have family, friends and colleagues all living and working on island. Our community connections means we already know so much about the properties and residents we serve. Quite often, we know the layout of houses, how homes are heated, the location of oil tanks, electricity meters, nearby water sources, as well as the contact numbers of homeowners. This knowledge helps us perform our rescue duties effectively and with compassion.

Thankfully, there aren’t often call-outs for domestic fires – but we also help with wild fires, medical evacuations, community events, serious injuries, and we work closely with the Coastguard, nurse and other emergency services. It’s always worth being prepared, and our Monday night drills mean we are ready to help anyone that needs us.

What to do if you need help on Rathlin

Always phone 999 in the event of an emergency. As well as the fire service we also have the following rescue services:

District nurse

HM Coastguard

Air Ambulance