Chief Fire Officer retires after three decades of service
Today (16 December) it was announced at the Fire Authority meeting that Chief Fire Officer Mark Yates will be retiring in March 2016, after 32 years of service.
Mark began his career at Cornwall County Fire Brigade in 1984 and, after 21 years of working in various roles, moved to Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to take up the position of Deputy Chief Fire Officer. During this particular role he commanded the Buncefield Oil Depot incident which was one of the largest explosions and fires in the UK since the Second World War. He then joined Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) as Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive in 2010.
In addition to his role at HWFRS, Mark is also a member of the Institute of Fire Engineers and leads the national health and safety reference for the Chief Fire Officers' Association (CFOA).
As recognition for his outstanding contribution to the fire service, Mark was also awarded the Queen's Fire Service medal in 2010.
Mark said: "I feel extremely honoured to have led Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service for the last 6 years and enormously proud of what the Service has achieved in recent years. Furthermore, during in my time with the organisation I have also had the privilege of working with so many talented and passionate individuals who are dedicated to protecting our communities. The fantastic work that they do, whether its playing a part in prevention or physically saving lives, is truly admirable and one of the reasons I have been so proud to work for the Service."
He added: "Although I am sad to be retiring from the Service, I am equally excited to start this new chapter of my life. My retirement will also give the Fire Authority the opportunity to recruit another Chief Fire Officer who should bring fresh views and new ideas, which will only be positive for the future of the organisation and the communities of Herefordshire and Worcestershire."
Councillor Derek Prodger MBE said: "Over the past 6 years, we have worked in close collaboration on all matters relating to the fire and rescue service and I'm pleased to say we have enjoyed a very successful partnership. During this time, Mark has shown himself to be an outstanding leader whose hard work and commitment has made Herefordshire and Worcestershire safer places to live, work and visit."
He continued: "I'd like to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank him for his dedication, passion and his considerable contribution to the fire service. I wish him a long and very happy retirement."
Mark will officially leave the Service on 31 March 2016 and a new Chief Fire Officer will be appointed by the Fire Authority in due course.
Corporate Communications Manager
Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service
Tel: 01905 368 319