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Hampshire fire officer reaches fifty years of service

He's helped tackle some of the most dangerous incidents to hit Hampshire over the past fifty years. And now having made history, he's being honoured. Martyn Long is the first person to reach fifty years service for Hampshire Fire and Rescue. From Winchester Guildhall going up in flames to the Great Storm, he's been on hand to help others. Andrew Pate went to meet him.

Firefighters take over Spinnaker Tower to raise awareness of new campaign

New campaign launched at Spinnaker Tower Credit: ITV news

Shoppers at Gunwharf Quays will be the first to see Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service's new campaign to promote fire safety for vulnerable people. The campaign seeks to make life safer by asking the public to consider if they know an older person and raising awareness of basic life-saving fire safety measures they could help them to maintain, such as a working smoke alarm. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service will also be promoting free home safety visits, which are available to vulnerable individuals over 65 who are worried about fire safety in the home.

An aerial ladder platform vehicle will be on show at the event, which is used to fight fires at great heights, as well as a large themed cake which visitors will be able to win in a raffle. All proceeds raised during the event will be split between The Fire Fighters Charity and Age Concern.

Assistant Chief Officer Neil Odin said: "We are looking forward to welcoming as many people as possible to the launch of our new older person's safety campaign. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is committed to making life safer for everyone in Hampshire. We are targeting people aged 65 and over who are a significantly more vulnerable group in society when it comes to dwelling fire fatalities.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service offers the following advice:

Test the batteries of your smoke detector once a week: more than 75% of house fires had a fitted smoke alarm but less than half activated because of missing batteries and defective alarms

Stub out cigarettes properly and dispose of them carefully: just over half of house fire fatalities occur due to discarded smoking materials

Never leave cooking unattended and keep electrical leads, tea towels and cloths away from the oven or hob

Try to secure heaters against a wall for stability and keep heaters clear from curtains and furniture

Don't overload plug sockets and unplug appliances when not in use

Test electric blankets regularly: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service hold regular blanket testing sessions at public venues in partnership with Trading Standards. Call 023 8062 6809 for more information

If you have any concerns about your gas appliances, arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to safety check or service your appliance immediately

For more information, visit www.hantsfire.gov.uk. You can also call 023 8062 6809 to speak to the Service's Community Safety team or email community.firesafety@hantsfire.gov.uk

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Firefighters called to roof fire in Southampton

Fifteen firefighters were called to a property in Southampton this morning where the roof was alight.

Crews from Hightown, St Marys, and Botley fire stations along with one senior officer put out the blaze in Farringford Road. The roof was destroyed by the fire.

Two jets, two hosereels, positive pressure ventilation and an aeriel ladder platform were used for firefighting.

Senior Fire Officer makes history in Hampshire

Honour for Martyn Long Credit: Hants Fire and Rescue

A senior fire officer has made history by becoming the first member of Hampshire Fire and Rescue to reach 50 years service. Martyn Long, who first joined the service at the old headquarters in Winchester in 1964, was honoured with a landmark long service medal by the current Chief Officer, John Bonney.

During his half-century stint, Martyn served at stations in Farnborough, Lyndhurst, Aldershot and Basingstoke. He has also taken up roles in HFRS's training school and the Fire Service College. He stepped down from operational duty in 2002, but continues to play a crucial role in Hampshire's emergency response as a contingency planning officer for HFRS, working on cross-agency liaison for major emergencies.

He has dealt with some of the biggest emergencies in the county's history, including the Winchester Guildhall fire in 1969, the Great Storm of 1987, and the Poles Lane incinerator fire in 1994.

Martyn said: "If anyone had suggested in 1964 that I would still be working for the fire service in 50 years I would have laughed out loud. I left school aged 17 not knowing what career path I wanted to follow. I have had, and still have many good friends in the Service, and the various jobs have been hugely fulfilling and interesting. The Service has been very good to me and I do not regret joining all those years ago."

New Chief for Hampshire Fire and Rescue

Dave Curry will start his new role next year Credit: Hampshire Fire and Rescue

A new Chief Officer has been appointed to lead Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service from the start of next year.

Dave Curry will take over from current Chief John Bonney, who is stepping down from his role after a decade in the top job.

Mr Curry, the current Deputy Chief Officer, will formally take over as Chief on 1 January 2015.

"I am delighted to be taking on the role of Chief Officer for Hampshire. It is a position that I know carries great responsibility, as our Service strives to make life safer for every resident living in the county. Stepping into the shoes of someone as respected and admired as John will be a tough challenge, but I am confident I can bring a fresh perspective and insight to the role. There is no doubt I take on the job at a time of great change in the fire service but I am looking forward immensely to the challenge of ensuring we continue to supply an exemplary service to our communities and to leading such a great organisation."

– Dave Curry, New Chief Officer

Mr Curry was chosen following a two-day selection process at the Service’s headquarters in Eastleigh this week. The transition will now take place over the coming months.

"I welcome the appointment of our new Chief Officer. I am very much looking forward to working with Dave when he formally takes up the appointment in January and supporting him in continuing the excellent work that has been achieved in making Hampshire safer and HFRS stronger."

– Hampshire Fire Authority Chairman Royston Smith

Historic flour mill saved by sprinklers

The Solent Flour Mills building Credit: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

One of Southampton's most historic buildings was saved from serious damage yesterday thanks to its in-built sprinkler system. Fire crews were called to the Solent Flour Mills building, now operated by Rank Hovis, at Western Docks just before 10am to a fire on the second floor.

Firefighters in breathing apparatus entered the building and found the floor heavily smoke-logged. They were able to locate and extinguish the fire, which had been contained to the milling machine it started in by the sprinkler system. All staff were safely evacuated from the building and the damage limited to the affected machine.

Group Manager Ryan Thurman, officer in charge of the incident, said: 'The presence of sprinklers in the building prevented this fire from becoming a life-threatening incident and also saved the building and the business from serious damage.

'The activation of the sprinklers meant the fire was kept under control and was stopped from spreading, which helped protect not only the staff in the building but also our firefighters who went into tackle the flames.

'The effect of fire on a company can be catastrophic and systems such as the one installed at the mill can save not only lives but also businesses and jobs.'

The milling machine which was damaged by the fire Credit: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

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Fire crews called to blaze at landfill site

Hampshire and Dorset Fire and Rescue Services were called to a fire on the Blue Haze landfill site near Ringwood early this morning.

The fire involved an area of non-hazardous waste approximately two acres in size and around 35 firefighters have worked to contain the fire and bring it under control. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

A spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said that smoke may be visible in the local area but it is not believed to present any threat to health. However, he said members of the public should be aware of the possible effects of smoke.

No reports of injuries after major fire in Hampshire

A spokesperson from Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service has said that no-one was injured in a major fire at a group of industrial units at Dradfield Lane in Soberton Heath overnight.

More than 70 firefighters from across the county were called to the scene following the alert shortly after 1.30am.

The units were reported to contain workshops and other businesses - all destroyed. Seven cars were also burned in the blaze.

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