Chief Fire Officer
What does your job involve?
As the Chief Fire Officer of a large and diverse fire & rescue service, my job is focused on ensuring we deliver high-quality and cost-effective prevention, protection and emergency response services to all local communities across Herefordshire and Worcestershire. In order to achieve this on behalf of the Fire Authority, I have overall responsibility for over 600 members of staff, 25 fire stations and 41 fire engines along with numerous specialist vehicles.
On a national level, I also lead for the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) in respect to its Environment and Sustainability reference, which sees me liaise closely with the Environment Agency to identify areas where the fire service can work more closely with them to help prevent and mitigate injury to people and damage to their communities as a result of major weather-related events, such as wide-area flooding.
When did you start working for the Service?
I started my career in the fire service in 1993 with Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service and progressed through many roles to Area Manager. In 2011, I moved to Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service as Assistant Chief Fire Officer and was promoted to Deputy Chief Fire Officer in 2013. During that time, I have been involved in many varied and challenging operational incidents, most notably wide-area flooding in Gloucestershire in 2007 and Oxfordshire in 2013/2014 – and more recently the major building collapse at Didcot A power station. I started my current role as Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive in April 2016.
Why do you like working for HWFRS?
HWFRS is an organisation committed to protecting local communities and people from injury, damage and detriment – something that is only made possible because so many of our staff are passionate about making a positive difference. As a result of their professionalism, enthusiasm and commitment, our organisation also has the great potential and opportunity to add even more value to support the most vulnerable in our society in areas that would not normally be associated with the fire and rescue service – areas such as medical assistance and public health, as well as community resilience and wellbeing. These are a few reasons why I love the job I do and feel privileged to lead such a dynamic Service.
What interests do you have outside of work?
I enjoy walking, cycling and watching team sports (especially rugby), as well as trying to grow vegetables in our small family allotment - although I am much more successful at cultivating weeds unfortunately. I am also interested in history (having studied Archaeology at University around 30 years ago), which sees me visiting museums and historic buildings with my wife whenever we get the chance. The majority of our spare time, however, revolves around us supporting the hectic social lives of our two teenage daughters.