“Mr Emergency” calls time

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THE region’s chief emergency planning officer has retired after eight years at the helm.

Denis Hampson managed the Cleveland Emergency Planning Unit (EPU), which delivers an emergency planning service to the four local authorities across Teesside, and also the multi-agency local resilience forum partnership.

Mr Hampson, who retired at the end of May, and his team have been involved in the response to all large-scale emergencies in the area, including the recent evacuation of Hartlepool Marina after a car bomb explosion in Old Cemetery Road which killed town man David Bagley.

An inquest heard Mr Bagley, a former rocket engineer, used his “expertise” to take his own life with a home-made car bomb.

Paul Walker, the chief executive of Hartlepool Borough Council, paid tribute to Mr Hampson at a presentation attended by a host of multi-agency partners, including Cleveland Police and Cleveland Fire.

Mr Walker thanked him for his commitment and said that through his efforts the region was able to respond effectively to all large-scale emergencies.

Mr Hampson said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my career in emergency planning and while I am aware of all the risks and emergencies that could occur, I fully believe Teesside is extremely well prepared to respond to any major emergency.”

Much of the work undertaken by Mr Hampson and his team has been recognised nationally and he has delivered presentations across the UK and Europe on how Cleveland is prepared for emergencies.

In 2008, the Cleveland EPU was one of only seven recipients to gain Beacon Status from the Government for demonstrating outstanding expertise in emergency planning.