Hampshire residents are being urged to have their say in shaping the future of their fire service.

People are being encouraged to complete a short online survey, which provides them a unique opportunity to influence the way the service is run in the years to come.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is currently undergoing a comprehensive review of its services, driven by changing demand from the county’s communities and a need to meet future budget reductions of up to £12m.

The public’s views will help shape proposals that will be put to the county’s fire authority for approval next year.

Area Manager Steve Foye, who is leading the service’s review, said: “The demand on our services has changed significantly – from the type of incidents to which we respond, through to the work we do to prevent incidents and protect people in Hampshire. This is because the communities across Hampshire are changing and the way we are funded is changing too – in the future we will have less money to deliver our services. As council tax payers, the Hampshire public are our customers and so it is absolutely right we give them a voice in how their fire service looks in the future.”

The Service has already implemented several innovative solutions to address government funding cuts and protect frontline services.

These include the merging of back office functions with Hampshire County Council and Hampshire Constabulary, and co-locating with local police teams at fire stations around the county. A joint fire and police headquarters is also due to be created, with police staff moving to the fire service’s base in Eastleigh next year.

Area Manager Foye said continuing to provide an exemplary service to the public was paramount, despite the challenges faced by organisation.

“Our ambition continues to be the best fire and rescue service and to make life safer for everyone in Hampshire,” he said.

“To achieve this we need to recognise what’s changing and take action in order to balance our budget in the future and, where possible, find ways to improve how we do things. The public’s opinions and ideas are very important in helping us undertake this detailed review and I would ask everyone to take just a couple of minutes to complete the survey and have their say.”

The survey will be open until December 7 and can be found at www.hantsfirepublicsurvey.com. The survey is being managed by an independent market researcher company and is completely confidential.

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