MUSICAL MESSAGE: Isle of Skye fire crew hope song and video will boost recruitment drive

Singer Louis alongside crew mates Alasdair Maclean, Scott Maclucas-Paton, Iain MacPhie and Miriam Ascher. Pic Willie Urquhart

A song and video created by the crew of Dunvegan Fire Station in Skye is proving a smash hit online.

The crew recorded “Things Are Hotting Up” as part of a community album raising funds for Alzheimer Scotland.

The song is a humorous look at the many activities undertaken by Highland firefighters – from putting out burning buildings to filling in the paperwork afterwards.

It was the idea of John Shurmer-Smith, a former international touring musician who now balances life as an on-call firefighter with supporting local community arts projects.

John, better known by his stage name Louis Barabbas, said: “I spent a year listening to stories about people’s lives and experiences in order to create a sort of contemporary portrait of life here.

“When it came to my own contribution it could only really be about one thing – being an on-call firefighter.

“The song lyrics made the crew laugh so I wondered if it might have a wider appeal and approached our Station Commander Karla Stevenson, who oversees all the crews in Skye and Raasay, about the possibility of making it into a kind of tongue-in-cheek recruitment video.

“She was very supportive and even has a cameo!”

The resulting film sees the Dunvegan crew in a variety of scenarios: singing from on top of overturned cars, dancing in breathing apparatus and, of course, rescuing cats from trees, all to a rock soundtrack. 

“We do very serious work, the incidents we get called out to are life changing to the people involved, but the team itself is a very joyful one and the video aims to show that,” explained Louis.

“We were conscious that a lot of the recruitment material emphasises the time commitments and serving the community.

The crew are hoping to attract some new recruits Pic Willie Urquhart

“Sometimes I worry people think it’s this terrible burden, but it’s so rewarding. Joining the fire and rescue service is one of the best things I’ve ever done and I hope this song makes people consider doing that themselves – all the stations here have vacancies.” 

Alongside singer Louis the video features Watch Commander Alasdair Maclean, Crew Commanders Miriam Ascher and Scott Maclucas-Paton and Firefighter Iain MacPhie.

It was shot around the station and surrounding area so that the crew could remain on call.

The recording also features local paramedic Graeme Deas on drums and Edinbane choir The Island Chorus. 

The Community Album is one of six local arts projects co-ordinated by Atlas Arts and Seall, funded by Creative Scotland through their Culture Collective initiative.

The record features singers and musicians from all over Skye and Lochalsh and is available as a CD and download from with all sales going to Alzheimer Scotland.

If you are interested in becoming an on-call firefighter visit