Specialist Response

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) provides and maintains a number of specialist response teams at a state of operational readiness that can respond to emergency incidents within the county and, as part of national mutual assistance arrangements, anywhere in the United Kingdom. Our specialist response teams provide HFRS with an enhanced range of equipment, skills and knowledge for dealing with a wide range of unusual and complex incidents.

Foam response

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) will often attend incidents involving flammable liquids, eg, oil and petrol. These are best dealt with by using foam which blankets the surface of the liquid involved extinguishing it by either:

  • Excluding air from the fuel surface 
  • Separating flames from the fuel surface 
  • Restricting the release of flammable vapour from the surface of the fuel 
  • Forming a radiant heat barrier 
  • Cooling the fuel surface

 Hazmat incidents

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) has a group of specially trained Hazardous Materials and Environmental Protection Officers (HMEPOs). These officers provide  24/7 cover and attend a wide range of incidents involving hazardous materials (Hazmat) and environmentally damaging substances which can range from chemicals and milk, to fires involving fertilisers and cylinders. 


Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and South Central Ambulance Service have been working in partnership for a number of years to deliver a co-responder scheme in Hampshire. 

Co-responders are firefighters who receive training in basic life support, provided by the ambulance service, based around resuscitation and defibrillation. Re-certification and refresher training is given every six months. 

Co-responders are Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service employees and their priority is to ensure fire stations maintain adequate operational cover. However, if sufficient cover is available, then a firefighter may crew the co-responder Unit (CRU).  Clinical evidence proves that patients in a life-threatening situation who receive rapid intervention, have a better chance of survival. Co-responders nay respond to the following medical emergencies:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Serious/uncontrollable bleeding
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Unconscious patient
  • Choking
  • Signs of shock
  • Diabetic/epileptic emergency
  • Suspected stroke
  • Traumatic injuries


Co-responder vehicles are supplied by South Central Ambulance Service, with the exception of Hartley Wintney who has a sponsored vehicle supplied by Vista Healthcare and Hardley/Hythe whose sponsored vehicle is supplied by Exxon Mobil. 

Each vehicle is sign written with fire and ambulance logos, along with 'co-responder' signs. They also have blue lights and sirens. The vehicle carries comprehensive equipment including:

  • Defibrillator 
  • Bag and mask resuscitator 
  • Oxygen 
  • Airways suction units 
  • Standard first aid equipment, bandages, etc
  • Entonox (gas and air)


The duty co-responder takes the vehicle home which speeds up the response time.

International community aid

Hampshire has been sending volunteers to overseas disasters since 1988 and we continue this as part of the United Kingdom International Search and Rescue (UKISAR). Experienced members of our USAR team are specifically trained and equipped for overseas operations.

In addition to disaster response the Hampshire Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team also carries out targeted Community Aid in countries worldwide. This is the result of specific requests from the country’s Embassy in the UK, overseas charities or partner organisations. 

Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)

Find out about our USAR team and how they manage major incidents.

Managing operational incidents

Read about support and crew welfare at incidents.