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On Tuesday 3 March, Hull city centre saw a UK first when Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) unveiled its newest appliance – a blue Prostate Cancer UK branded fire engine!

Funded by the Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the engine ‘wrap’ will raise awareness of Prostate Cancer UK and support its Men United campaign. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and on average 160 men are diagnosed every year in Hull.

Special guests and press gathered at Hull City Hall and then went down to Queen Victoria Square to see the new blue engine arrive. It was certainly something different and dozens of Tuesday shoppers wandered across for a closer look!

Only last year, George Bennett, a firefighter in Grimsby overcame prostate cancer and is now back on Green Watch at Peaks Lane Fire Station, so the disease is very real and ‘close to home’ for the organisation and its staff.

The collaboration is another joint Hull 2020 initiative to support the people of Hull to be as healthy and fulfilled as possible. As one of the nine key partners in the plan, HFRS played a significant role in the initial launch of the plan to transform public services and continues to lead the group which looks at the most vulnerable in the city.

A key idea being explored by the Service is to locate a small operational fire station on the Integrated Care Centre site in East Hull to better support and protect the local community, particularly its more vulnerable members.

The Service is currently looking at options to rehouse East Hull Fire Station to the new integrated care centre on the former David Lister site and more widely as to how fire stations can play a role in health and wellbeing issues across the city.

HFRS has also signed up to Men United, Prostate Cancer UK’s movement for anyone who believes men are worth fighting for, and are encouraging its employees and local residents to do something together with their friends to help beat prostate cancer.

Red Watch at East Hull Fire Station will be the first to receive an awareness talk from the charity. Other watches across the city will also then benefit from the talks and will learn about potential symptoms and risk factors.

The fire service has a proven track record of prevention and protection in the community and they hope to use this trust and confidence to encourage local men over 50 to seek medical advice if they have any concerns about prostate cancer.

Chief Fire Officer Dene Sanders is delighted that the fire service is playing such a key role:

“We are a dedicated and active partner in Hull 2020 and all of our staff have really bought into what the CCG are trying to achieve in Hull. We are all about protecting our communities and looking after the most vulnerable, so this initiative to raise awareness of prostate cancer amongst our staff and the wider public is a perfect fit.”

Emma Latimer, Hull CCG Chief Officer said:

“The Hull 2020 programme, and Health and Wellbeing Strategy for the city, both have a very clear focus on early detection and ill health prevention. This is greatly supported by Hull 2020 partner, Humberside Fire and Rescue, which has created an original and eye-catching awareness campaign with Prostate Cancer UK, to go out directly onto the streets of Hull. We want this campaign to encourage more men to get symptoms for prostate cancer checked out and treated early – it will mean that their chances of recovery could be much greater.

“To further improve outcomes for prostate cancer patients in Hull, the CCG is revising the clinical pathway to support GPs in earlier diagnosis and management of the condition in the community. This includes introducing a new CCG Pathway Information Portal to enhance communication between primary care and hospital clinicians.”

Vivienne Francis, Director of Communications at Prostate Cancer UK, said:

“What Humberside Fire and Rescue Service and Hull CCG are doing is exactly what Men United stands for. It’s bringing people in the local community together to do something great to help beat the disease.

“By signing up for Men United they will be encouraging others to do the same. By creating this movement Prostate Cancer UK will be able to call upon more men to push forward real change and have a greater impact on men’s health.”