The #INeedMySpace campaign was launched in 2016 by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service after an increasing number of drivers delayed fire engines getting to incidents. The motorists were putting lives at risk by blocking off roads and even stopping on box junctions outside stations.
Photographs and videos were posted under the campaign hashtag to show examples of these practices and help educate motorists, including a video that went viral after a man abandoned his car at a Hampshire station following a night of drinking.
#INeedMySpace was crowned Best Social Media Campaign in the country at the UK Social Media Communications Awards in 2017 and won a silver gong at the Public Service Communications Excellence Awards.
The Service beat off competition from specialist digital consultancies and corporate giants such as Adidas, Disney and Marks and Spencer to win an award. The public were a key part of the campaign’s success and shared the life-saving messages on social media with just a few posts on Facebook reaching more than a million people.
In 2019 our Community Safety team released Amber’s Warning; a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of unsupervised cooking. With the short film being shared across social media, Amber’s story was told with the intention that others will think twice before leaving cooking unattended.
It was viewed more than 120,000 times and reached over 76,000 people. One post achieved 12,000 engagements alone and was shared a further 300 times. In the same year, the campaign was awarded the Innovation of the Year Award at HFRS’ Celebrating Success show.
The campaign has also been shared by social media experts and numerous other fire and rescue services across the country. Comments received from the public included, “what an amazing video, thank you for all you do to keep us safe”, and “really good video, great work from everyone involved.”
Chief Fire Officer Neil Odin praised the short film by saying, “this campaign has received a fantastic response and I am aware of the time and skills required to make it such a success. I am aware of the fantastic collaboration between several teams to make this campaign and I believe it was this, together with the team’s skills, that made it such a success.”
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, HFRS released its new series Firing Off Questions, in particular ‘Women in the Fire Service’. This follows a pro-active campaign by the Service to promote the role of an operational firefighter to underrepresented groups.
The video reached more than 100,000 views within days of being released and was shared thousands of times including by other services such as London Fire Brigade and South Yorkshire, Surrey, Kent and Bedfordshire FRSs.
It was also shared by all four female chief fire officers Dany Cotton, Becci Bryant, Dawn Whittaker and Sabrina Cohen-Hatton.
During the 2019 recruitment intake, female applicants increased by almost 900% compared with previous years. Of 41 new firefighters, it included 13 women (31.7 percent). The previous recruitment drive at the end of 2017 was made up of 27 men and one woman (3.7 percent) – before this the organisation had not recruited for eight years.
During the summer in 2020, Hampshire saw a staggering number of wildfires across the county, including the Ringwood Forest Fire which lasted for four days and at its height had over 100 firefighters in attendance. At the same time BBQs and bonfires were banned throughout the entirety of the New Forest.
To combat these numbers, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service launched a nature photography competition to highlight the importance of protecting our countryside whilst also educating the public on wildfire safety. During this time, firefighters from Lyndhurst Fire Station began patrolling the New Forest alongside the New Forest Rangers to warn its visitors.
As the competition’s popularity grew, our social media channels regularly shared vital wildfire safety messages; including a series of Instagram stories viewed by 1,000+ people and supporting Forestry England’s #BeWildfireAware advice.
Overall, the competition received over 800 entries and increased public engagement during the global COVID-19 pandemic.