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New Chief on Service’s 40th anniversary

1 April 2014

Today (Tuesday 1 April 2014) marks the 40th anniversary of Humberside Fire Brigade, which saw the amalgamation under a combination order of smaller brigades that covered Hull, East Riding, North and North East Lincolnshire. The amalgamation came following new legislation requiring all unitary authority areas to have an official fire service.

New Chief on Service’s 40th anniversary

In its first year, the newly formed Brigade, now known as Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS), attended more than 6000 fires, including the major incident at the Nypro Chemical Plant in Flixborough which sadly claimed the lives of 28 Nypro employees. To this day, this remains the most devastating incident the Service has attended in terms of loss of life.

The role of the fire and rescue service today is much more diverse than it was 40 years ago. The number of fires has significantly reduced over the years due to a combination of the fire safety work carried out in communities by fire and rescue services across the country, the increase in smoke alarm installation, buildings and products offering a better fire safety standard and the public being more fire safety aware.

The serving Chief Fire Officer in 1974 was Mr C.D Forrest and now, 40 years on, a new chief will take on the responsibility. Today (1 April 2014) Dene Sanders will step into the role of Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive.

CFO Sanders commented on his new appointment:

“Humberside Fire and Rescue Service has a proud history and has come a long way in the last 40 years, but there is still more work that can and will be done to meet the constantly changing environment in which we operate. I am committed to help keep our communities and firefighters safe and I am looking forward to leading this great Service into a new chapter of its history.”

In comparison to the 6000 fires attended in 1974, last year (2013) the Service attended just over 3,500, which demonstrates how fires over the years have declined. However, whilst the number of fires has drastically reduced, there has been a significant increase in other types of emergencies to which the Fire and Rescue Service respond, such as road traffic collisions and flooding. Following the devastation of the 2007 floods, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service has invested time and money in developing water rescue equipment to ensure the Service is fully prepared for flooding in the future.

HFRS has come a long way since 1974. In 2012 it created HFR Solutions, a Community Interest Company that provides emergency response, risk management and training solutions to companies and organisations across the country.

“HFR Solutions is becoming more successful year on year, the profit made by the company is invested back into the community. The company has also invested in an apprenticeship scheme which has created opportunities for young people in the Humberside area,” CFO Sanders added.

Like most public sector organisations, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service has seen its budget reduce significantly in recent years and this is set to continue.

CFO Sanders was confident that the Service was robust enough to withstand reductions in the overall budget:

“The organisation has risen to these challenges and continues to deliver high standards of service with fewer resources than before. I want to lead the organisation to deliver innovation, flexibility and first class response and support, both independently and collaboratively, whilst maintaining the focus of keeping our firefighters and communities safe.”