Hampshire Fire and Rescue

Laura developed new systems and processes within the Press and Marketing Department

As the Service continues to battle a more challenging economic climate, it was important to Laura that the communication and press officers worked in the most effective and efficient way as possible. With this in mind Laura single-handedly wrote a 100 page media strategy that introduced new processes and systems for both the communications and press team. Working her way through the strategy Laura introduced both an intelligence and media monitoring system into the press office. This involved a lengthy process of comparing systems and competitive pricing and building two systems that were tailored to the department’s needs and wants. Laura trained a team of 10 in how to use both systems. The 100-page strategy also focused on building and maintaining better relationships with internal and external audiences while reviewing several areas of a Communication Officer’s work in order to provide the best service to the Service. Laura split the county of Hampshire into separate patches and allocated each officer their own patch. Laura then became responsible for managing the Portsmouth group to push proactive stories and better-handle reactive ones and in doing so demonstrated to the team and higher management how effective that working practise could be.

A proactive initiative Laura created with Southsea Fire Station
Laura introduced monthly proactive meetings with the Portsmouth fire station, Chief and personnel. During one of the meetings the officers expressed their frustrations with careless parking in the city, and how at times it could affect their ability to reach incident locations as their trucks wouldn’t fit down certain roads.

In a bid to help raise awareness of the situation, Laura invited press and local MPs to Southsea Fire Station to observe a short demonstration by fire fighters on careless parking in the city. Those invited also spent time with crew on-board an appliance to see first-hand the problems crew were facing. The demonstration received the following coverage: Three pages in The Portsmouth News, ITV Meridian news bulletin (four minute broadcast), BBC South news bulletin (three minutes long), Heart Radio – on air interview, website story, Twitter mentions and pictures; Wave 105, and Capital FM features.

Managing the Portsmouth group

Laura would regularly meet with fire stations, local press, charities and businesses within Portsmouth, as well as work on events alongside agencies. Some of these organisations included the Royal Navy, Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire Constabulary and Safer Portsmouth Partnership to name a few.

Senior role in the four-week Shirley Towers inquest

On 6 April 2010 a tragic incident took place at the residential tower-block of Shirley Towers in Southampton, in which St Mary’s firefighters James Shears and Alan Bannon sadly lost their lives. Laura took a senior role with the handling of the four-week inquest relating to the incident.