Hampshire Firefighters, including personnel from Eastleigh’s Fire Service HQ on Leigh Road, are preparing to deploy to New Zealand to assist with an international search and rescue operation after the city of Christchurch was hit by a severe earthquake.
The earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck at around 12:51 local time (23:51 GMT) on Monday 21 February 2011 with the request for mobilisation from the Department For International Development being made Tuesday 22 February 2011.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is currently on call as part of the United Kingdom International Search and Rescue team and co-ordination for the UK team is currently taking place from West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service.
Group Manager Pete Crook and Paul Murray from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have already departed to New Zealand from Heathrow Airport at 22:00 Tuesday night as part of the UKISAR advance party whilst the seven remaining members of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service contingency left Service headquarters in Eastleigh at 23:30.
Hampshire is a proud member of UKISAR a group of 13 UK Fire Brigades who each provide specially trained volunteers to respond to overseas disasters on behalf of the UK Government.
The UK team is made up of personnel from West Midlands, Hampshire, West Sussex, Grampian, Leicestershire, Essex, Cheshire and South Wales Fire and Rescue Services. In total there are 63 personnel preparing to fly out to New Zealand.