1 April 2016 saw the legal beginning of the new Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service. The newly combined service has 50 fire stations, 73 fire engines, over 1,000 full-time and on-call firefighters. It covers a population of over 1.45 million residents in the local authority areas of Bournemouth, Dorset, Poole, Swindon and Wiltshire. Councillor Rebecca Knox has been elected as the first chairman of the new Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority. Cllr Knox, who represents Beaminster on Dorset County Council, was formerly the chairman of Dorset Fire Authority.>>Rebecca: I’m very proud indeed to be the first Chairman of the new Authority. To have that faith from the other Members of the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire Authority and to be able to give the commitment that I know I’m going to give, I’m really looking forward to it and it’s the next step in the journey. Her vice-chairman is Cllr Garry Perkins, formerly vice-chairman of Wiltshire & Swindon Combined Fire Authority, who represents the Haydon Wick ward on Swindon Borough Council. Chief Fire Officer Darran Gunter, and his Senior Leadership Team, are based at the new Service HQ in Salisbury, which form part of the Five Rivers Health & Wellbeing Centre owned by Wiltshire Council.>>Darran: Today we begin a new race, we begin a new journey, as one complete new fire and rescue service, committed to our communities, and passionate about changing and saving lives. The inauguration of the new service was attended by Fire Authority Members, partners and local dignitaries from across the two Counties. The former headquarters buildings in Potterne (Wiltshire) and Poundbury (Dorset) are now being used as area offices, with a full review of the Service’s estate being undertaken. A joint Service Control Centre at Potterne was opened in August 2015 and has been dealing with 999 calls for both counties since that time.