The Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service will change names and will be predominantly commanded from the mainland from April next year, in one of the biggest shake-ups of the fire service in over 70 years.
A new logo design has been released showing that the fire service will be known as Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service from 1st April 2021, bringing an end to the Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service as a stand-alone entity with its own identity.
It’s in April that control of the fire service will pass from the hands of the Isle of Wight Council to the Hampshire Fire Authority. The merger will see decisions about the Isle of Wight’s firefighters, appliances, stations and strategies made off-Island, although the Island will have just 1 of 11 seats on the authority’s board.
It will be the first time the Island’s service has been commanded from the mainland since the Isle of Wight Fire Brigade was formed in 1948, following on from the wartime National Fire Service. The current name and logo have been in place since 1986, which developed from the Isle of Wight Fire Brigade.
In 2015, the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service entered into a strategic partnership with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) with many fearing at the time it was a precursor to a full merger – which now seems to be the case. It was 5 years ago that Island Echo reported that reassurances had been given by officials that the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service would keep its identity and remain accountable to the Isle of Wight Council.
Hampshire took over fire control operations from Surrey in April 2017.
It’s unknown if, in time, any stations will be closed as a result of the merger, with buildings in need of £3million of repair and crew numbers low at stations like Bembridge. However, reassurances have been given that there are no current plans for closures.