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Fire and rescue warn people to clean their chimneys

Failing to clean your chimney can cause a fire Credit: ITV news

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service are calling on people to get their chimneys swept.

Open fires may be a warm and welcome addition to the home but they do carry risks. Last month there were 15 chimney fires in Wiltshire and 17 in Dorset, many of which could have been avoided.

Blocked chimneys can lead to a rise in carbon dioxide Credit: ITV news

As well as getting chimneys swept, local people are encouraged to fit smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.

Blocked or defective chimney flues also carry the risk of leading to carbon monoxide poisoning, so it's vital that you employ a professional and qualified chimney sweep to ensure that your home is safe.

– Safe & Well Manager, Vikki Thomas

Fire services celebrate 'end of an era'

The service as we know it will end on 31st March 2016 Credit: ITV News

It's the end of an era today for the fire and rescue services in Dorset and Wiltshire.

From tomorrow both services will end as they officially combine to make the new Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The only visible changes will be the new name and badge on vehicles and new signs on buildings. It's thought the move will save more than £6m pounds a year.

This is an exciting time for Dorset, Wiltshire, Bournemouth, Poole and Swindon but it is right that we celebrate the lives we have touched within Dorset and those who have given their lives in service to their community.

Over the 68 years that Dorset Fire and Rescue Service has been in existence it has touched the lives of many, whether that be through home safety visits, incidents, youth intervention programmes, charity events and much more. I am looking forward to celebrating those achievements with staff past and present and to the new challenges in our combination with Wiltshire."

– Darran Gunter, Chief Fire Officer

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Fire and Rescue changes "a cut too far"

"A cut too far that will put lives at risk." That's how the Fire Brigades Union has described proposed changes to the way Hampshire Fire and Rescue responds to emergencies.

Fire chiefs have set out a number of significant changes aimed at modernising the service as it battles with a multi-million pound funding gap.

But the FBU has raised serious concerns about the possible loss of traditional crewed fire engines and wants residents to have their say. Emma Wilkinson reports.

Restaurant 'risked lives of customers and staff'

The case was brought by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Credit: Hants Fire & Rescue

Risking the lives of customers and staff has cost a businessman £25,000.

As well as a £15,000 fine, the owner of Junness Indian Cuisine in Southampton was ordered to pay costs of £10,300 after pleading guilty to five charges relating to inadequate fire safety standards.

A visit to the property in High Street by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service on 21 August 2012 found: an inadequate fire alarm system; a fire exit not well protected; and inadequate emergency lighting.

Following the visit a prohibition notice was served, stopping people from living above the premises.

After evidence that people were still living there, with the problems not addressed, legal action was taken.

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Horse cut free after trailer overturns in East Sussex

Horse trailer overturned on A21 Credit: East Sussex Fire and Rescue

A horse has been cut free from a trailer after it overturned in East Sussex

A specialist animal rescue team from Crowborough were called in after the accident on the A21.

The trailer was resting on the central reservation while a vet sedated the horse and firefighters cut the roof off the trailer.

The driver of the vehicle, towing the trailer, was unhurt but understandably shaken by the incident.

Crew Commander John Haizelden from East Sussex Fire and Rescue said:

“It was an extremely hot day and crews worked well in the heat under arduous conditions.

"The specialist animal rescue unit from Crowborough concentrated on working in the vicinity of the animal, maintaining its welfare.

Due to the nature of this incident specialist knowledge is required when dealing with animals.”

The A21 was closed in both directions between Pembury and Kippings Cross roundabout but has now reopened.

Merger approved to save money

Approval has been given to plans to merge Oxfordshire and Berkshire fire services.

The new "Thames Valley Fire Control Service" is expected to save almost ten million pounds in fifteen years, reducing the combined control room staff from fifty two to thirty.

It's expected the new force will start in 2014. The service says the project will save the forces more than £650,000 a year.