DYW Key Workers – Bruce Farquharson

Thank you to Bruce Farquharson, Area Commander, Local Senior Officer for Aberdeen City for sharing his career journey from Firefighter to Area Commander!



NameBruce Farquharson
Job TitleArea Commander, Local Senior Officer
Previous rolesHead of Civil Contingencies
Station Commander
Watch Commander
Crew Commander

What attracted you to the industry you are in?

The fact that I’d be helping people, the huge range of activities I’d be involved in. The excitement of the work and the opportunities that the Fire Service can bring.

How long have you been with the company?

27 years.

Describe your day-to-day role

Strategic Leader for Service Delivery in Aberdeen City. I lead the full range of work the fire service does in Aberdeen, and oversee the largest incidents that we attend across all of the North of Scotland.

What kind of training have you done?

Over 1 year in total of residential courses, and hundreds, if not thousands of hours while on duty. Ranging from Breathing Apparatus, Road Traffic Collisions, Rope Rescue, Swift Water Rescue, Wildfire, a degree in management, psychology, resilience management, personnel management, advanced life support in the pre-hospital environment, advanced response driving to name just a few.

What skills have you learned?

Many practical skills, too many to mention. But also, leadership, self-management, decision making under pressure, partnership working, negotiation, personnel management and public speaking/presentation skills.

Have you completed any professional qualifications?

BA in Business Management. PDA in Resilience Management. NEBOSH general diploma in Health and Safety. Diploma in Hazardous Materials Operations.

Do you like living and working in Dundee and Angus?

Absolutely. I have lived in the Dundee and Angus area all my life. It has a great range of landscapes and leisure opportunities, and some stunning scenery. Dundee is very central in Scotland, and Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen are all within 90 minutes by car, so it is a great place to live for accessing all parts of the country.

What skills are the most important for you to do your job well?

Leadership, Personnel Management and common sense.

Was there anything about the job that surprised you?

How much we can do for the public that isn’t just the traditional Firefighting work. We can, and do, provide help and advice for a huge range of people, in a huge range of situations on a huge range of topics.

Is there anything unusual about your role?

Yes, but too much to explain. My job has many aspects that are “normal”, but even more that are out of the ordinary, and unusual.

Do you get a lot of support from your company?

Very much. Without the support of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service I would simply not be able to fulfil my role.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Helping people to achieve their goals and aspirations. (and obviously saving life!)

Did you always want to pursue a career in this industry?


What is your advice for young school leavers looking to start an apprenticeship?

Do it. Learning a skill, no matter what it is, is a huge benefit. You will not only learn the job that you expect, but you will learn other skills such as working with others, time management, self-discipline and many other things that will stand you in good stead no matter what you want to do.

What is your career goal?

I’m lucky. I’ve already reached the level in my career that I always aspired to. But, I still intend to continue to serve the people of Scotland by ensuring I help deliver a world class fire service to them.

How does it feel to be a KeyWorker on the frontline, supporting the Country’s fight against Covid-19

It’s a privilege. Knowing that I have a part to play in keeping people safe and the country working is fantastic.

Tell us what makes you proud to be a Keyworker

The fact that I’m helping people in the time of their deepest need. It’s a great feeling, but also very humbling to know that I’m helping others as part of a huge team, not just Fire Service, but all keyworkers across Scotland.